In 1946, the then fledging Soroptimist Club was newly formed and looking for civic projects to support. They were searching for a project that would require little money as their treasury was low. Mrs. George (Lucelia) Wiltse was on the project committee and she suggested that the town needed a Humane Society. The idea was approved and the project received a donation of $25. With this money and the hard work of thirteen ardent volunteers, the Society was chartered in 1947 with the goal of protecting homeless, helpless and suffering animals in Clallam County. Mrs. Wiltse was the backbone of its success.
The first shelter was built in 1949 at 16th and “D” Streets in Port Angeles. The next Shelter was built in 1956 on West Highway 101, on a 100 X 100 foot donated lot and was eventually remodeled in 1983. Because of its age and lack of room for expansion, the building was in desperate need of replacement. New property at 1743 Old Olympic Highway, was acquired and a new, state-of-the-art Bark House was constructed in 2016 on the beautiful 9.5 acres, where it resides today.
The animals housed at the Shelter are surrendered by owners who no longer can keep them or are strays. Additionally, the Humane Society has contracts to shelter animals that are picked up by Clallam County Animal Control and the police department in the cities of Sequim and Port Angeles. These animals are released to their owners after the appropriate fines or fees are paid. If they are not claimed by their owner, the animal becomes available for adoption. The shelter currently handles around 1,500 animals a year.
The Olympic Peninsula Humane Society (OPHS), an open admission shelter, is dedicated to maintaining and improving the health and well being of all surrendered, lost, abandoned, neglected and abused companion animals of Clallam County. The OPHS serves as a conduit for helping lost animals reunite with their owners, as well as helping adoptable animals find new owners.
Promotion of responsible animal ownership and devotion to population control in the form of spay and neuter programs for shelter animals, as well as spay and neuter financial assistance programs for the public, is a high priority for the OPHS. Additionally, the OPHS is in support of the enforcement of anti-cruelty laws and promotion of proper legislation to assist in the just enforcement of all cruelty laws in Clallam County.
The OPHS does not believe in euthanizing healthy and adoptable animals due to lack of space or length of time at the shelter. Therefore, every effort possible is made to ensure that healthy and adoptable animals will temporarily and securely reside at the shelter, or in foster care until they are adopted or transferred to a partner rescue agency. Furthermore, if an animal should come to us sick or injured, every reasonable effort will be made to seek and carry out proper medical treatment for that animal and monitor their recovery until they are ready for adoption or transfer to a partner rescue agency. Euthanasia at the OPHS will be reserved as a last resort to relieve suffering for the untreatably ill or injured and for very aggressive animals.