On a Mission with the Butte Humane Society
● By Kendra Kaiserman
By Kendra Kaiserman
Photos courtesy of the Butte Humane Society
Meagan Dallas, like many people, is an animal lover. Unlike a lot of other people, she has the privilege of working with animals every day as adoptions manager of the Butte Humane Society in Chico. She has been with the humane society since October 2015 and the best part is “always seeing the animals go home,” Dallas says.
Executive Director Katrina Woodcox is also an animal lover, but she got involved with Butte Humane Society for deeper reasons. “My background is in nonprofit management. I left my previous job to work in the private sector and realized my passion and my calling is in the cause-related industry,” she says. “It’s a wonderful cause to be involved with and very sobering and very serious.” She has been with the society since January 2014 and says her focus is to “leave this world a little bit of a better place than when I landed on it.”
The Chico-area animal adoption agency has been around since 1911. “Our purpose is to find appropriate homes for animals in the community as well as educate the community on spay and neuter,” Woodcox says.
The nonprofit organization is 100 percent donor-funded. “Our mission is to save lives, find homes and inspire compassion,” Woodcox says. The Butte Humane Society has grown from one facility to three, and on any given day, it can have almost 40 dogs and upwards of 50 to 60 cats. “The key is the length of stay time,” Woodcox explains. “We try to cycle them through as quickly and efficiently as possible and find them a good home. We work really hard to keep that flow going.” They cycle through about 1,300 animals a year.
“People say, ‘Oh, I could never do that. It’s so sad.’ But there’s way more to celebrate than being sad,” says Woodcox. “We like to tell an animal’s story, and you see them blossom here.”
Woodcox also adds that people often say, “Our family is now complete because of this animal.” “That’s the best part, knowing you play an instrumental part,” she says. “You’re the animal’s voice. They don’t have one.”
Butte Humane Society hosts programs and events each month to raise awareness about its services. Its three main events are the Bidwell Bark in April, the Pup Crawl in July (new this year) and the Anniversary Gala in September. It does a supper club once a month, and participates in many other community events, including Chico’s Thursday Night Markets. “You name it, we go,” Woodcox says. They also give talks to children about humane education and do mobile adoptions.
This summer’s brand-new Pup Crawl will be Saturday, July 8 from 5 to 9:30 pm in downtown Chico. The Butte Humane Society is partnering with the Downtown Chico Business Association, and the event coincides with the business association’s Restaurant Week. The Pup Crawl is essentially the same as a pub crawl – people purchase wristbands that allow them to enjoy beverage specials at participating establishments in downtown Chico. “It’s a fun way for the citizens of Chico to enjoy what their community has to offer, while also helping homeless animals,” says Samantha Jones, marketing and events specialist for the humane society.
People can get involved with the Butte Humane Society by signing up on its website to be a volunteer, becoming part of Butte Friends Forever by making a small donation every month, joining a committee or signing up for the monthly newsletter. Volunteers can walk dogs, socialize with cats, do laundry, help with events or assist with administrative work in the office. A large foster program allows people to “take in an animal that needs a break from the shelter or an animal that is too young or too small or not ready to be adopted yet,” Dallas says.
“Our primary focus is to address homeless animals in our city, in our county and in our region first,” Woodcox says. “There are a lot of animals locally that need homes. When people are thinking about adopting from our rescue, that focuses within our own community first.”