Humane societies run out of space, money

Iowa County Humane Society seeks donations

A number of animal shelters across the state are running out of space and money to support pets without a home.

Labrador mix Bradley spent five years in the Iowa County Humane Society before being adopted by Peter Schwei and JorJan Borlin.

“It’s so unfortunate that there are dogs that are left unloved,” Borlin said.

“He really deserves something better than that,” Schwei added.

The Iowa County Humane Society is surviving month to month. The shelter slipped into significant debt after an electrical issue.

“A month ago, we were looking at closing the doors,” said Sharon Shea, Iowa County Humane Society board member.

Donations will get the no-kill facility through another four weeks or so, but almost 40 dogs and nearly 100 cats are in danger of not having a place to live.

“It’s a labor of love for everyone,” Shea said.


The Iowa County Humane Society gets some help from the county government and contracts out stray animal services for a little extra cash. However, that money only covers about a fifth of its $300,000 operating budget, so the organization relies heavily on donations.

“That makes it tough because there are other nonprofits that need support too,” Shea said.

Lafayette County doesn’t have its own shelter. People living there use the Green County Humane Society’s facilities, and local police forces are responsible for picking up and dealing with stray animals.

The nonprofit Everyone Needs A Home, Inc., runs spay and neuter programs, as well as a pet food pantry. Mike Jerge stores and distributes more than 1,400 pounds of dog and cat food from his warehouse in Monroe every month.

“There are a lot of animals that end up in shelters now that, if they had the means in their home, wouldn’t end up there,” Jerge said. “So it’s kind of a preemptive strike or a proactive approach to the homeless issue on the pet side of things.”

About 80 families pick up food from the pantry every month, feeding about 200 pets.

While Jerge hopes the food pantry helps solve some of the problems around Lafayette County, other issues persist. Shelters in Beloit and Janesville are turning to Dane County for additional space for animals they have taken in.

Rock County Humane Society Director Angela Rhodes said having enough room for stray dogs and cats is the primary issue for her organization. She added that having a number of different agencies handling animal control across the county often makes it difficult to communicate among all of them.

In Dodgeville, Shea said the Iowa County Humane Society has a new board, and she’s excited to pursue new visions and plans for the financial side of the shelter, as well as all aspects of giving the pets a home.

“It’s a labor of love. It just is. That’s the best way I can say it,” Shea said.

Those interested in helping the Iowa County Humane Society with contributions or who want to learn more about adoptions can visit

People can go to to donate to the pet food pantry or if you are seeking help feeding their animals at home.