Q&A About the Herkimer County Humane Society

Q&A About the Herkimer County Humane Society

Monday, November 02, 2015
The Herkimer County Humane staff, board members and volunteers are asked many questions regarding the shelter, how it is run and also on occasion have to disprove many myths. We thought it would be beneficial to the public that we serve to answer some questions that are heard frequently:

Question – Are you a Herkimer County run agency?
Answer – No. This is the question that we receive the most. The Herkimer County Humane Society is not a County run agency, but does receive a very small portion of funds from the County. The amount the shelter received for 2014 was $15,000.00. All other monies received are through fundraising events, donations, memorials or if a person makes a gift to the shelter through their Last Will and Testament. The employees of the Herkimer County Humane Society are NOT county employees.

Question – Are you a no-kill shelter?
Answer – No. The Herkimer County Humane Society considers itself a very low kill shelter. In 2014 we took in approximately 624 animals and lost only 25 to euthanasia. This is usually because of severe illness or a highly aggressive animal. We also work with rescue groups and have people who foster our animals until they find their forever homes.

Question – What is your tax designation for the Internal Revenue Service?
Answer – We are a non-for-profit organization and are considered a 501(c)(3) organization. A 501(c)(3) is described as follows: To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates. Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations. Organizations described in section 501(c)(3), other than testing for public safety organizations, are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170.

Question – Is your Board of Directors paid?
Answer – No. The eleven people who make up the Board of Directors are all volunteers who not only attend monthly board meetings, but attend and organize many of our fundraising events. The Board is considered very “hands on” and being on the board requires more than just attending monthly meetings.

Question – Do you have an Executive Director?
Answer – No. The Herkimer County Humane Society does not have an Executive Director. The idea has been discussed in the past, but due to financial concerns and the way our board is structured, we complete Executive Director duties with a Shelter Chair, who is a board member and is the liaison between the staff and the Board of Directors.

Question – Do you have a paid staff?
Answer – Yes. We have seven paid employees who work tirelessly to take care of our animals. Their day starts early at 8:00 a.m. and cleaning goes until the shelter opens to the public at 11:00 a.m. All the animals must be fed, bathed if necessary, and all kennels washed. The cats all get fresh litter and all cages are cleaned. The shelter office is then cleaned.

Question - Who can volunteer at the shelter?
Answer - Anyone who is 16 years or older. If you are under 16 years of age, a parent or guardian must remain at the shelter while the volunteer works. We are always looking for people to walk the dogs, fold laundry, play with the cats or just help wherever needed. Volunteers make up a huge portion of our work force and we literally could not run the shelter without the help of our many volunteers. You can become a volunteer by visiting our website and downloading the application.

Question - When are your board meetings and can anyone attend?
Answer – The monthly Board of Directors meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at the shelter office located at 514 State Route 5s, Mohawk. The meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. with a fundraising meeting at 6:30 p.m. Watch your local newspapers for the meeting announcement. The public is encouraged to attend. We are always looking for new ideas for fundraising or ways we can improve. If you have a fundraising idea, we hope you will join us at one of our monthly meetings.

Question – How did the Herkimer County Humane Society start?
Answer - In 1912, it took a circus traveling through the Herkimer area and the courage of one woman, Zaida Zoller, to call attention to the need for an organization to promote animal welfare. Ms. Zoller was appalled by the condition of the overworked horses pulling circus wagons and called the police. The police cited the circus for abuse and confiscated the horses. This created such a strong public reaction that the Herkimer County Humane Society was formed by a group of Ilion businessmen. They incorporated the organization on February 13, 1913. The incorporation was approved by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Question – What is the Norma Keno Fund?
Answer – The Normal Keno Animals in Crisis Fund was established in February, 2001 after the passing of Norma Keno local antique dealer and animal lover. Norma was a huge supporter of the shelter, and all animals, and her family of husband, Ron, sons, Mitch, Leslie and Leigh established the fund after the many donations came to the shelter after Norma’s passing. This fund has helped hundreds of animals that need that extra medical attention in order for them to lead a long, happy, healthy life. It has covered amputations, medicines for long term care after adoptions and other extras.

Question – What buildings are on the property?
Answer – We have the main shelter building which consists of 32 dog kennels. Out of those kennels, 14 are in the newest part of the shelter and these kennels have doors where the dogs can go in and out at their leisure. This part of the shelter was built in 2001. The “older” part of the dog kennel area has recently had a huge facelift. New walls were put in with better insulation and a ventilation system has been improved. The cat area was updated in November, 2009 by the addition of a sun room where the cats can roam free letting them stay out of their cages. We also have an isolation room for the cats that need extra TLC. Additionally, we have two greeting rooms that we use for the public to meet their new best friend or place new born puppies or kittens. We have The Norma Keno Medical Room where shots are given and animals are weighed. The office for the shelter staff is also here. The attached garage is a large storage facility where food is stored, meetings held and there is a bathing area where the dogs are groomed and bathed. We also have several play yards that the dogs can play outside and there are outside kennels where they can be outside while the shelter is being cleaned.

Question – How do I leave a donation to the shelter through my Last Will and Testament.
Answer – The best way to leave a donation to the shelter is to contact your attorney. The shelter does have a brochure that outlines the process, but if someone you know wants to leave a bequest and especially if they are not New York State residents, it is wise to contact an attorney.

Question – Does the Herkimer County Humane Society do an annual report?
Answer – Yes. The Herkimer County Humane Society does an annual report and a copy is available to anyone. You can pick one up at the shelter.

Question – What is the cost to adopt an animal from the Herkimer County Humane Society?
Answer – The cost is as follows:
DOGS & PUPPIES - $100.00
(Dogs that have already been spayed or neutered) This fee includes distemper vaccine and worming. Twelve weeks of age and up also includes rabies vaccine (1 year).
CATS & KITTENS - $80.00
(Cats that have already been spayed or neutered) This fee includes distemper vaccine and worming. Twelve weeks of age and up also include rabies vaccine (1 year) and Felv/Fiv Test. There is an additional $5.00 charge for the Felv/Fiv Test. PLEASE NOTE: There is no Felv/Fiv Test for kittens under twelve (12) weeks of age. The Herkimer County Humane Society only has dogs, cats, puppies and kittens available for adoption.

Question – What if I can no longer keep my dog or cat? What is the fee to surrender my animal at the Herkimer County Humane Society?
Answer – The fee is $80.00 to surrender a dog and $40.00 to surrender a cat. This helps to offset the medical fees for vaccines and spay/neuter surgery. However, the Herkimer County Humane Society has the right to refuse to accept an animal if we simply do not have the space for them. This does not include animals that come to the shelter after being picking up by an animal control officer. These are animals that are running at large, where no known owner is able to be found. Once the animal is surrendered, the shelter is free to adopt the dog or cat into their forever home. We strongly encourage people who cannot keep their pets for whatever reason to try to find a home for them. There are rescue groups for most pure breeds of dogs. It is not that we don’t want to take an animal, but sometimes we are filled to capacity and although we are a low kill shelter, we don’t want to have to euthanize for space, something that we have tried to never do.

Question – How do I become a member of the Herkimer County Humane Society
Answer – Simply stop by the shelter or visit one of our information booths at our events and complete a membership form. The cost is $25.00 for a one year individual membership or $35.00 for a one year family membership. This entitles you to a subscription for one year to our newsletter which is published approximately three times per year. In the newsletter you will find out what is going on at the shelter, upcoming events, pet tips and much, much more. Public generosity including membership dues accounts for nearly 80% of our annual income. You can also download the application from our website at www.herkhumane.org.

Question – Do you have a website?
Answer – Yes. The Herkimer County Humane Society’s website is www.herkhumane.org. On that website is everything you have ever wanted to know about the shelter plus all of our animals that are available for adoption. The animals are updated very frequently, so check back often if you are looking to adopt. We can also be found on www.petfinder.com.

Question – How do I contact the Herkimer County Humane Society?
Answer – The Herkimer County Humane Society’s mailing address is P.O. Box 73, Mohawk, NY 13407. The physical address is 514 State Route 5s, Mohawk, New York. The email address is herkhumane@ntcnet.com. Phone number is (315) 866-3255 and the Fax Number is (315) 866-5086. Look for us also on Facebook at HerkimerCounty HumaneSociety (all one word). We list our pets available for adoption, a pet of the day and also upcoming events and success stories. If you are an ebayer – we are also on ebay at herkimercountyhumanesociety (all one word). If you have an item that you would like to donate for us to sell on ebay, please contact the shelter. The shelter is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 11-5; Saturday and Sunday 12-4 and we are closed on Tuesday.

We hope this answers some of your questions. We always invite the public to attend our monthly board meetings and ask any question they may have. We could not run the shelter without the generosity of the public we serve. On behalf of the animals – THANK YOU!

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