The initial public organization meeting of the Hays Humane Society was held in the spring of 1975. Ten interested people attended. The first years of the Society were devoted to the advocacy of humane causes and planning for future activities, especially an animal shelter.
A public fund drive for an animal shelter was launched in March 1977. Sufficient funds were raised to permit construction to begin in August 1977. This shelter had its 'Grand Opening' on 12 May 1978. As initially constructed, the shelter was a 20 by 40 foot metal building housing ten large kennels, a puppy and kitten area, office, and storage space. About six months later several large outdoor runs were added to the east end of the building. Although it was not officially opened until May 1979, the shelter managed to house about 500 animals during 1977.
During 1979 and 1980 considerable attention was given to the problems of animal control within the city of Hays. After several years of negotiations, an agreement was reached in June 1981, whereby the Society was contracted to provide animal control services to the city. Both the increased number of animals which had to be housed under this contract and the increases in the number of animals brought to the shelter by private individuals soon made it clear that the existing shelter was too small. In the early 1980s, it was common for 200 animals per month to be handled by the shelter.
A second shelter fund drive was launched in December 1981, aimed at acquiring the funds to double the size of the shelter building. Construction began on the addition in the summer of 1982. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held by the Hays Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors on 5 May 1983. The new addition included eight indoor/outdoor runs, an isolation room, cat room, new entry way, storage room, paved parking, laundry area, skylights, and an area for future expansion. Although the construction was originally estimated to cost $26,000, the addition ultimately cost $66,000.
In September 1981, an anonymous donor provided the Society with its first official vehical. This was a new Chevrolet pickup with camper shell and lettering on the door. Even the tags and insurance were paid for. This same donor paid for the landscaping of the shelter and more than matched every donation received for the expansion fund drive.
During the middle and late 1980s, the Society gradually expanded most phases of its operations. By the end of the 1980s, the Society (using both staff and volunteer labor) regularly provided animal cruelty investigation services throughout Northwest Kansas. Animals processed through the animal shelter fluctuated in numbers from year to year, but by 1988 about 3000 animals were processed. In the late 1980s, the annual operating budget of the Society was between $80,000 and $90,000. This budget was funded in roughly equal shares by the City of Hays Animal Control contract, fund raising events, memberships, and adoptions and related fees received at the animal shelter.
Through its first fifteen years, the Society had been mainly focused on Hays and Ellis County. As the 1980s closed, however, it became evident that a substantial number of the animals received at the shelter were from outside Ellis County. Accordingly, the Society changed its name in the summer of 1989 to the Humane Society of the High Plains, Inc.
On 16 January 1991, Paul and Virginia Miller adopted Beau from the humane society animal shelter. Beau became the companion of the Miller's. After Virginia's death, Paul Miller announced in 1993 that he wished to build a new shelter in memory of his wife.
The new shelter was built 2 miles east of the original location on land that had been previously donated to the Humane Society for that purpose by the Pauline Mosher Estate. Thus was born the Virginia Miller Animal Shelter that now houses the Humane Society of the High Plains.
We moved into our state-of-the-art facility in July of 1995 and now house an average of 50-60 animals on any given day.
To see the adoptable pets for Humane Society of the High Plains click here
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Humane Society of the High Plains Location
Below is a map for Humane Society of the High Plains, please call for specific directions.
***Note: PO Boxes will not show correctly on the map below.