Our Story

A brief history about how we got started




Our Mission

Advocating for the welfare of all animals through compassion and care.

Our Vision Statements:

  • To enhance the lives of all companion animals through humane education and partnerships
  • To create a safer and happier world for all companion animals
  • To enhance the human-animal bond through education and responsible pet ownership

Our Key Values:

  • Compassion: for those we serve, animals and humans.
  • Leadership: inspiring hope and kindness through strength, education and example.
  • Kindness: towards people and pets that find themselves in difficult situations.
  • Transparency: in our relationships and partnerships with the work we do.

 

How We Came To Be

Over the last 26-years our organization has helped tens of thousands of animals. Our programs and services helped over 1,000 animals in 2015. In 2016 Ark-Valley Humane Society had a 97% Live-Release Rate. As the year drew to a close, we saw the length of time it took for an animal to find a home decrease (commonly referred to as Length of Stay), another indicator of our progress. Our community assistance spay/neuter programs provided over 250 animals in Chaffee County with free or low cost spay/neuter surgeries. Creating a foundation that supports ongoing growth, organizational maturation and provides the tools to face the challenges of tomorrow was and remains critically important to us. We are progressing to our goal of being a model animal welfare organization with a top-notch facility that offers progressive humane programs, which is a notable transformation in animal welfare from where AVHS began in 1991…

In the early 1990s Buena Vista, Colorado had only The Shed, which was overseen by law enforcement. It consisted of unheated, short-stay kennels for stray dogs. Dogs sweltered in the heat of summer and water bowls froze in winter. No services were available for cats. A group of concerned citizens decided it was time for a change. In 1991, founding members established Ark-Valley Humane Society (AVHS) as a nonprofit organization to humanely care for stray and unwanted pets in northern Chaffee County. By 1995, the AVHS shelter had opened its doors in Buena Vista. Soon, hundreds of dogs and cats each year were cared for by staff and volunteers until loving homes were found for them.

Over the years, AVHS has steadily increased its capacity to serve the people of Chaffee County and animals in need. In 2003, AVHS built an isolation area for incoming animals. Doing so helped to prevent the spread of disease among animals, while expanding kennel capacity overall. As a result, an increase in financial support was needed. In 2006, a mill levy campaign, driven by community members, saved the shelter from closing its doors, and coupled with donations and grants, helped to secure its financial future. In the years that followed AVHS launched a Trap/Neuter/Return (TNR) program for feral cats, and began accepting unclaimed strays from Mountain Shadows Animal Hospital from the neighboring city of Salida.

Yet there were still needs unmet. The shelter was commonly turning away animals at its doors for lack of space. A temporary trailer was purchased in 2009 to provide much needed office space and additional kennels. In 2010, a capital campaign was launched to build a second facility in Poncha Springs to better serve the Salida area and the rest of southern Chaffee County. In 2011, the Sunshine Shelter was completed and opened its doors. AVHS’s overall intake increased by 34% over the previous year. In doing so, AVHS was able to continue its promise to provide top-notch animal sheltering, while no longer having to turn away in-county animals for lack of space. Today, AVHS serves all of Chaffee County with stray intake, animal relinquishment, reclaim, and adoption services at its facility in Buena Vista. To combat pet overpopulation, AVHS provides humane education. Importantly, it spays or neuters all dogs and cats prior to adoption and provides community assistance programs to help with the cost of spaying and neutering at-risk animals.

Our policies are working to change the face of animal sheltering to be both more animal-friendly and people-friendly. An open-adoption policy puts trust in adopters and facilitates adoptions. This policy ensures that all needy Chaffee County pets are accommodated by AVHS. We ensure that no animal is euthanized for reasons of time or space, with 95% or more of shelter animals saved each year.

OUR FINANCIALS

View our financial ratings with Guidestar


OUR NEWSLETTER

Learn more about who we are and what we do


Check out our videos


Our Newsletter

Instagram

  • Looks like weve got some new pets in the lead!!
    6 days ago Looks like we’ve got some new pets in the lead!! Remember, TODAY only, we’ve got a flash sale where votes are DOUBLED! So if you donate $20 in votes, you’ll actually receive 40! you’ve got until midnight tonight! Vote here: www.gogophotocontest.com/avhs
  • FLASH SALE! Today only! If you donate 10 in votes
    6 days ago FLASH SALE! Today only! If you donate $10 in votes you’ll actually receive 20 votes! Vote today and help homeless animals! Vote here: www.gogophotocontest.com/avhs
  • Have you? Pictured are some of our adorable entries! 11vote
    1 week ago Have you? Pictured are some of our adorable entries! $1=1vote and you’re making a big difference in the lives of animals looking for a home at AVHS! Vote today at www.gogophotocontest.com/avhs You’ve got until June 29th! ❤️
  • Want to make your pet a STAR?  Enter arkvalleyhumanesocietys
    1 week ago Want to make your pet a STAR? ⭐️ Enter  @arkvalleyhumanesociety ’s Feline + Fido Photo Contest running through June 29! Submit your pet’s photo + story, then share your page to get votes! $1=1 vote (with a $5 minimum) and all proceeds benefit animals in need! The pet with the most votes will win its photo on the front of our AVHS 2018/2019 calendar along with some other incredible prizes! No pets? You can still participate by voting for your favorites! Your pet does not have to be a rescue or local!
  • Support the lifesaving work of ArkValley Humane Society in our
    2 weeks ago Support the lifesaving work of Ark-Valley Humane Society in our third annual Feline + Fido Photo Contest!
  • Want your pets photo on the front of our AVHS
    3 weeks ago Want your pet’s photo on the front of our AVHS calendar like Millie and Yeti? We’re a week away from our third annual Feline and Fido Photo Contest And Calendar Fundraiser and we can’t wait! This year we’re offering our lowest photo submission cost ever at just $5 per photo! it all starts June 11!
  • Huge thanks to one of our awesome volunteers Judy H
    3 weeks ago Huge thanks to one of our awesome volunteers, Judy H, for donating these beautiful flowers for the front of our BV shelter from Merrifields!
  • Dunes two siblings have been adopted leaving sweet Dune all
    4 weeks ago Dune’s two siblings have been adopted, leaving sweet Dune all alone 🙁 we know his family is out there somewhere! Come by and meet this sweet kitten!

YouTube Feed

Facebook Feed