Indian Rivers Humane Society (IRHS) is an all volunteer, non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. The mission of IRHS is to improve the animal welfare by ensuring the humane care and treatment of animals in King William, Essex and King & Queen County. IRHS assists the Animal Control Department of the counties in this endeavor. IRHS also helps to reunite lost or stray pets with their owners and place unwanted animals in loving homes through the adoption program. Since its inception, IRHS has been able to save hundreds of animals from being euthanized.
IRHS came into existence in 1996 from the conversations of interested King William County citizens. People were tired of hunting dogs roaming their property with the owners never interested enough to claim them. They were tired of irresponsible owners dropping cats and dogs off on county roads for someone else to take in. They were also tired of people who continued to allow their animals to breed freely and produce many unwanted puppies and kittens. Many of these concerned citizens had been taking these strays into their homes on their own or trying to find other homes for them.
Several people began serious discussions of organizing a group to help the animal population in the area. An organizational meeting was arranged, publicized, and held in June of 1996 at King William High School. More than 30 interested people attended that first meeting. Although there were many different expectations and agendas that these first volunteers had in mind, all wanted to assist the unwanted animals in the community. From this first meeting, the Indian Rivers Humane Society began to take shape.
Since then, IRHS has flourished. Volunteers have come and gone, each leaving something of themselves from which the organization has grown. There are currently 40 active volunteers in the society. Major activities include providing foster care for rescued animals until a forever home is found, participating in regular adoption stands, organizing and participating in special events, writing articles or advertisements, public relations and fund raising activities, and developing educational programs for the schools and citizenry.
One of the most significant accomplishments of IRHS has been the success of the pound rescue team. Volunteers visit the Essex Pound and Regional Animal Shelters regularly to collect photos and data on each homeless pet. Afterwards, this information is shared, via email, with a large distribution list consisting of other rescue groups. They also post the list on various animal rescue sites like Petfinder.com. Occasionally, the team will assist with transporting the rescued animals to various locations throughout Virginia and even out-of-state. The volunteers also pull adoptable dogs that may be on the list to be euthanized and place them into foster care. Since beginning in late 2005, the team has been able to considerably decrease the euthanization rate at these shelters.
IRHS also works within the community to distribute educational materials on animal care and prevention of abuse. Much emphasis is placed on the need for sterilization to eliminate the proliferation of unwanted animals. This is accomplished through the use of educational brochures and a low-cost spay/neuter program, which was originally established with a generous donation from Golden Cat. IRHS currently relies on funding efforts and donations to continue this program.
There is still much more to be done in the community to continue realizing the mission of IRHS. The organization depends entirely on private donations to provide the funding necessary to accomplish its goals. Only with more volunteers and additional corporate and individual funding will these goals continue to become a reality.
Visit the IRHS website to learn about animals available for adoption, events scheduled or to get additional information on volunteering and contributing. www.indianrivershumane.org. Every unwanted animal deserves a forever home!!!!