Seven Decades of Service: Jefferson County Animal Welfare Society Celebrates Anniversary with Eyes on the Future | News, Sports, Jobs


Elizabeth Ricketts of Charles Town browses through fresh flowers at the Jefferson County Humane Society Mother’s Day Flower Sale outside the Shepherdstown Domino’s last Thursday. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN – Last Thursday afternoon, representatives of the Jefferson County Humane Society could be seen at Domino’s Pizza helping Shepherdstown residents shop for flowers during their annual Mother’s Day flower sale . And, next month, on June 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., dog lovers and dogs will get a portion of those funds put to good use, at the 14th Annual Bark in the Park Festival at Jefferson Memorial Park.

Providing animal care educational opportunities, like Bark in the Park, is one of the many ways AWSJC has served local residents, since its founding just over 70 years ago. The 501c3 organization, which was incorporated in West Virginia on February 7, 1952, has developed a number of programs and services that support the welfare of cats and dogs in Jefferson County over the years, according to AWSJC Vice President Jane Tarner.

“The Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County celebrated its 70th year of community service last February,” Tarner said. “[When it was] Established in 1952, the small AWS membership, led by Mabel B. Venable, William S. Venable, WPC Perry, Cora Chambers, Forrest Brown and Harold Hall, was the only organization in the county trying to solve the problem of acute, population of unwanted and stray pets.

By opening its no-kill shelter, which can accommodate up to 20 dogs and 30 cats, AWSJC has been able to save the lives of many pets and find good families to find new homes with.

“In the 1980s, when the Leetown Pike land was deeded to AWS by the Jefferson County Commission, plans were put in motion to raise funds and build a shelter. Nancy Rutherford led the project,” Tarner said of the shelter, which is located at 23 Poor Farm Road. “With the generosity of the late Ira and Nancy Glackens, of Shepherdstown, and other community donors, the shelter opened in October 1985 on Old Leetown Pike in Kearneysville. It was the first of its kind in the entire county to care for cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, awaiting adoption. Prior to this time, the only facility to house homeless and unwanted pets was the county pound, and they only housed adult dogs.

Beatrix Whalen of Shepherdstown buys fresh flowers at the Jefferson County Animal Welfare Society Mother’s Day Flower Sale outside the Shepherdstown Domino’s last Thursday. Tabitha Johnston

“AWS has given thousands of pets a second chance at loving homes. All pets at our facility are fully vaccinated, tested, microchipped and spayed or neutered, prior to adoption,” Tarner said, mentioning that AWSJC works with Jefferson County Animal Control to house the puppies they receive and adopt suitable dogs.

One of the main ways AWSJC uses to reduce the number of stray cats and dogs roaming the streets is through its neutering program. He also helps community members ensure their animals are protected, by hosting regular rabies clinics around the county.

“The organization implemented a sterilization (pre-adoption) program several years before it became state law, helping to reduce the number of homeless animals. AWS also distributes spaying and neutering coupons to help cover costs for those in need and to assist cat rescue groups that trap and neuter or neuter stray cats,” Tarner said, before mentioning a few other notable initiatives by the organization. “If space exists, AWS works with other rescues to bring animals to the shelter for adoption and assists veterans and community ministries in Jefferson County by providing temporary foster care for pets. people who are hospitalized, homeless or in rehabilitation.

“As with any facility, the work is never done and improvements and repairs are always needed, to help staff care for the animals and to make the shelter as comfortable as possible for animals awaiting new homes. “, Tarner said, welcoming community help through donations and volunteer work.

Visit to see all of the pets awaiting fostering at the shelter, as well as to keep up to date with the organization’s event dates.

The Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County held its annual Mother’s Day flower sale at Domino’s in Shepherdstown last Thursday afternoon. The date of the sale, originally scheduled for Friday, was brought forward to Thursday at the last moment, due to heavy rain forecast for Friday and its first rain date, Saturday. Tabitha Johnston


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