Creating a ‘no-kill community:’ HAWS, Elmbrook Humane Society come together to save cats & kittens

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BROOKFIELD/WAUKESHA (WITI) -- It's an effort to save lives by working together. In spring, animal shelters in southeastern Wisconsin fill up with cats. Instead of putting them down, the Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha (HAWS) and Elmbrook Humane Society in Brookfield are partnering in an effort to not only keep these cats alive, but find them "furever" homes -- and you can help.

"The ultimate goal is to make sure every adoptable animal is finding a home," Elmbrook Humane Society Executive Director Heather Gehrke said.

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With that goal in mind, the Elmbrook Humane Society has partnered with the Humane Animal Welfare Society to reduce unnecessary euthanasia of cats and kittens. One of the largest obstacles toward Waukesha County becoming a 'no-kill community' is the rampant problem of outdoor cat overpopulation. Elmbrook Humane Society is opening its adoption center to accept cats from HAWS -- helping to relieve this ovecrowding and reach a greater audience -- hoping to get these cats quickly into loving "furever" homes.

"What the commitment mainly entails is working in conjunction with HAWS to transfer cats and kittens to our organization as we have space we're able to commit to them when they need help," Gehrke said.

The partnership will help reduce the number of cats and kittens in these shelters, numbers HAWS Executive Director Lynn Olenik says increase in spring.

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"When we take in 35 cats a day and adopt out 10 on a good day, a lot of the area is quickly going from habitats for outdoor cats, barns and rural (areas) to suburban and urban environments and these cats are left without a home. They are breeding and having kittens in people's window wells, sheds and under decks and all of these animals are being brought to us," Olenik said.

HAWS now has a program called "Project Guardian," that involves spaying and neutering outdoor cats free of charge as long as people take them back and oversee their condition.

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"That has gotten us to lower our incoming stray percentage by 38%, but we take in 6,000 animals a year and with that 3,200 are cats and we are still euthanize animals we don`t want to euthanize," Olenik said.

Together, folks at HAWS and Elmbrook Humane Society hope to achieve a no-kill community within Waukesha County.

The biggest way you can help is through adoption, fostering or donating supplies for cats in need.

VIEW adoptable cats and kittens at Elmbrook Humane Society.

VIEW adoptable cats and kittens at HAWS.

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