The Mission and History of Windham County's Humane Society
Our mission is to ensure the safety and well-being of animals and enhance the relationship between individuals and pets through adoption, education, advocacy, compassion, and promotion of animal welfare. While our focus is the people and animals of Windham County and some of our programs require you be a resident, we strive to help pets and pet owners in need whenever we can.
A Strategic Vision for Today & Tomorrow
Windham County Humane Society is working to create a vibrant, well-run and financially secure community-supported animal shelter that offers a variety of programs, services and facilities that promote the well-being and dignity of pets and other companion animals, and support their responsible stewardship by human caregivers.
Through our efforts, we aspire to:
- End animal cruelty, suffering and abandonment
- Increase the capacity of local residents, regardless of socio-economic means, to properly and humanely care for their animals
- Cultivate a strong sense of community ownership in, awareness of, and advocacy for animal welfare issues
A Steadfast Commitment to ‘The Five Freedoms’
Through our efforts we strive to provide animals:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease
- Freedom to express normal behavior
- Freedom from fear and distress
Jennie Powers’ Legacy
In 1887, a group of animal lovers in Windham County formed The Brattleboro Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Mrs. Jennie B. Powers served as humane agent for both Windham County, VT and Cheshire County, NH. Armed with the powers of a deputy sheriff, Jennie worked tirelessly in defense of animals. She once jumped from a window in her Brattleboro home to stop a man from beating his horses. At the freight yards, she monitored the loading of cattle, inspecting them on the cars. At her own expense, she once fought in a court case against a man charged with starving his horse.
In 1968, the organization gained 501(c)3 status under the new name, Windham County Humane Society (WCHS). In the early 1980’s, WCHS was run out of an office in downtown Brattleboro, with no housing available for animals.
From 1989 to 1991, offices were rented at Linda and Henry Hellus’ farm. In 1992, the Humane Society moved to a group of cottages on Route 30, and the first animals were housed on-site in two small buildings. In the late 1990s, a dedicated group of volunteers raised the money to build a new facility, which opened to the public in April of 2000 – which is where you can visit us today, keeping the legacy of Jennie Powers alive, protecting and caring for the animals who share our lives.