How the Humane Society is readying for winter


Emberlynn Pendergraft

Humane Society of Clark County’s current location

Many people are starting to tackle the negative effects of winter as frigid weather begins to settle in, but people aren’t the only ones having to deal with the cold. Animals from the Humane Society of Clark County (HSCC) are starting to feel the effects too.

Every year, HSCC prepares their animals for the cold by winterizing the shelter. One way they winterize is by adding hay to the inside of the dog pins and throughout the yard to keep the dogs off the ground when it freezes.

“Hay inside the dog’s houses will give them a little bit of warmth and put something between them and the cold plastic,” says HSCC’s president Jamie Allen, “I like to put extra hay on the ground because the ground freezes and conducts chill, and keeping a good layer of hay helps with that.”

It doesn’t stop with hay though. HSCC goes through a hefty amount of tarps and visqueen every winter to try and keep the dogs warm. “What we do is we try to wrap the cages in the visqueen and tarps, and the only spot we leave open would be the door. That creates a greenhouse effect. The sun will shine in the morning and warm up the insides of the pins,” says Allen. After the pins warm up, the plastic tarps and visqueen keep the heat from escaping too quickly.

Because the supplies that HSCC uses weather easily, the shelter usually needs donations of these materials often. “We always love to have hay donated, we have plenty now but as the month ends we’ll probably need some more,” mentions Allen, “donations of tarps are also important because they deteriorate over time and we have to replace them periodically.”

But winter brings more than just the cold, it can also bring a change in the types of volunteers the shelter sees. Allen points out that HSCC receives a lot of volunteering from local students, but when these students leave town for winter break, the amount of people volunteering can drop. “During the break we really depend on the locals who are out of school or have teenagers who are out of school.”

HSCC has also set up donation trees to help get the animals during the holiday season. In town, places like Adorn Boutique, Hardman Interiors, The Farmhouse, and Caddo Valley Flea Market have all set up the HSCC’s donation trees inside their business. The trees are decorated with ornaments that each detail a donation the shelter needs, like dog and cat chow.

Speaking of the donation trees, Allen said “We’ve had a really good response from the community, we’ve had a lot of businesses that have requested to have a tree.” The shelter also offers wreaths and mini christmas trees so smaller businesses can join in.

It’s not just businesses that can pitch in to help during the winter. Community members can help out by fostering animals from the shelter. Allen mentions that fostering during the cold months is ideal for the shelter “It gets the dog in the household where it’s warm. Most of these dogs have not been in inside environments, and fostering can also help them learn manners by being indoors with a family.”

Allen stresses the importance of taking care of animals when the weather begins to chill; not just at the shelter, but in community member’s homes as well. “I would like to encourage people to have a practical approach to taking care of their animals,” she says “If your dog has to stay outside, add hay in their pins, and if you can’t get hay come see me and i can make that arrangement.” Allen also points out the value of making sure your pets have fresh water, “Water freezes in the wintertime, so it’s best to go out everyday with a fresh bowl of water.”

“I’m taking care of 70 animals in the cold. If you have one dog, you should be able to take care of that one dog. Just let your dog come in and stay the night in your utility room -put a few towels on the floor- and put them out in the morning, it’s very simple,” Allen says.

HSCC’s shelter has been holding dozens of dogs and cats for nearly 15 years, but it’s time for an upgrade. This change could help the shelter year-round, and especially during the winter months. “This building has done well for us, but we have outgrown it. It’s becoming a financial drain on us to keep it going because of the repairs and the amount of animals we’re taking in at any given time,” Allen says, “Next year we will be trying to raise money to build a new shelter designed specifically for our needs, and I would like everybody to keep that in mind, and hopefully everyone will contribute.”

To help the shelter during the holiday season, look out for donation trees in businesses around town, or visit their new website,