In its 25th year, Berkshire Humane Society boasts numerous programs benefiting both animals and people. From the Pet Food Bank to vaccine clinics, the non-profit works hard to identify needs and develop services to meet them. Below are just a few of the good works that are always in the works over at 214 Barker Road in Pittsfield.
BHS’S PET FOOD PANTRY
Did you know that more than 1,000 people and their animals are helped through our Pet Food Bank every year?
Formed to support animals whose owners are experiencing temporary financial difficulty, Berkshire Humane Society’s free Pet Food Bank is entirely stocked by community donations. This service is a huge component of the compassion we show our community – it helps keep pets in their home where they belong. In addition to our Pittsfield shelter, people in other areas can visit various food banks throughout Berkshire County to pick up pet food. These locations include: Purradise in Great Barrington, Sheffield Food Pantry, and the Friendship Center Food Pantry in North Adams.
If you would like to support this vital program, please consider dropping off a donation of pet food at our main shelter on 214 Barker Road.
PREVENTING DISEASE OUTBREAKS
Did you know that BHS works with local veterinarians and animal control officers to help curb and prevent outbreaks of disease?
Berkshire Humane Society believes that helping people and helping animals go hand in hand. When a community is in need, we’re there to help, from vaccine clinics to providing free spay/neuter vouchers. Over the past few months, BHS has partnered with local veterinarians to host clinics in North Adams and other neighborhoods in the Berkshires to eliminate an outbreak of the highly contagious Canine Parvovirus and get pets up-to-date with rabies shots and wellness exams. Volunteer veterinarians and shelter staff work these clinics, offering medical, health and behavioral advice to people. Animal DREAMS has also attended, providing resources to people who care for community cat populations or who have feral cats in their neighborhood. These clinics allow the shelter to make an important and direct impact on the community while also ending disease outbreaks and preventing new ones.
SAVING SOUTHERN LIVES
Did you know that Berkshire Humane Society routinely transports dogs from the south to the north where they are given a second chance at finding a home?
Berkshire Humane Society periodically accepts transports of dogs from the south. Trucked up from Atlanta or Mississippi, where overpopulation and euthanasia rates are high, dogs of all ages enter our shelter to find their forever homes. These transports of animals, from communities in need of assistance to communities in need of companion animals, have saved countless lives.
“There was a time, a few years ago, when people in our community couldn’t find the dog they were looking for,” said John Perreault, BHS Executive Director. “Our shelter did not have the types of dogs that people wanted. Potential adopters would check in with us for 6 months or more, and then when they couldn’t find an animal, they would turn to the internet.”
The problem was often compounded by unfortunate experiences with online breeders and puppy mills. Dogs with issues, purchased from unreliable sources, were sometimes surrendered to BHS, leaving the shelter to deal with more difficult dogs that were harder to place.
BHS began transporting in late 2015. As dogs of different breeds, sizes, and ages came into the shelter, people began to return to BHS to seek a family pet, drawn to the variety now available. This return of potential adopters benefited the local dogs too. Once again they were seen, helping them find families alongside their southern companions.
“Our commitment has always been and will always be to our local dogs and community. Always,” said John. “We believe that by helping these southern dogs find homes – dogs that might not survive without transport programs across the country – we are also helping dogs surrendered in our own community. The more people we attract to our shelter and help find the right animal for their family and home, the more opportunity all our animals have to find their forever family. The more people have positive experiences, the more they refer others to us to find that perfect pet. It’s really win-win for all.”
Due to strict Massachusetts laws, dogs are not allowed to enter the transport program without proper health certificates and vaccinations, and strict protocol is followed from start to finish by all involved shelters. The state has taken excellent care to keep canine diseases from the south from entering northern populations.
Berkshire Humane Society has a special room that qualifies as a licensed quarantine facility. This allows staff to carefully evaluate the health of each transported dog before it enters the adoption floor. BHS conducts its own health exams with the assistance of local veterinarians, and ensures that vaccinations, spay/neuter, and overall state of wellness meets the same standards as all other shelter animals.
“We’ve really seen the best possible outcome and impact we could have hoped for,” continued John. “We’re helping animals and people. That’s our mission, and there are many ways to serve it. Transports are just one.”
Learn more and supporter your local animal shelter by visiting BerkshireHumane.org.