LETTER: LCHS rolls on

Crystal Swann Blackdeer

To the editor:

First mentioned in the Leavenworth Times in 1885, Leavenworth County Humane Society may be the oldest humane organization in Kansas. There were a couple of dormant periods along the way, but since their relaunch in June 2009, the organization has continued to serve, even during COVID-19.

Shelter operations and service to the public have continued uninterrupted due to early implementation of extra disinfection in public areas of the shelter, face covering, social distancing and a log of visitors to aid health officials in contact tracing should that be needed.

One may expect that things would slow down with most people observing stay at home orders, but in the first six months of 2020, LCHS, Inc. took in 200 pet dogs and cats.  That’s two-thirds of the total volume served in 2019, putting them on track to serve an estimated 400 pets this year.

The shelter accepts found dogs and cats from outside city limits in Leavenworth County, and through Animal Control from contracted cities Basehor, Lansing and Linwood. Found pets in Tonganoxie are accepted by interlocal agreement under the contract with city of Basehor. There is currently a trial contract that runs through December 2020 serving the city of Bonner Springs.

Owner surrenders from these areas are accepted by appointment as space allows.

In 2019, 73% of the pets brought to LCHS, Inc. were from outside city limits in Leavenworth County. So far in 2020, more than 50% of the pets have been from unincorporated areas, while county households are less than 30% of the population. For detailed data, email LvnCoHS@live.com

Hours at the shelter are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday from 1-7 p.m. and Saturday from 1-5 p.m. It is closed on Sunday and Monday.

LCHS, Inc. is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers. Youth 12-over may volunteer with a parent or guardian.  Independent volunteers must be 18 years of age. All volunteers attend an orientation and at least two training sessions before assuming duties.

While contracts provide some income, the vast majority of LCHS, Inc.’s funding comes from donors. Several fundraisers a year help, but in 2020, several have had to be postponed.  Donations may be brought to the shelter during open hours, popped in the postal mail, called in by phone, directly through Paypal or may be made through links on the organization’s website (www.LCHSInc.org) or Facebook page (facebook.com/LvnCoHumane).

Note: Crystal Swann Blackdeer is the executive director of Leavenworth County Humane Society, Inc.