Shelter Spotlight: Woodford Humane Society

Homeless animals in Woodford County, Kentucky, have a place to stay for as long as they need until they are adopted.

Woodford Humane Society
Woodford Humane Society’s adoption center.

In rural Kentucky in 1975, stray and surrendered animals didn’t have much of a chance. The local pound in Woodford County had an inadequate facility and a small budget — almost all dogs there were euthanized after a brief stay.

A group of concerned citizens were shocked at the conditions, so they formed the Woodford Humane Society. They worked to increase regulations and support for the dog warden and started networking to find homes for the dogs.

Members of the group opened their own building in 1983, which they still work out of today. Another building was constructed in 2006 and functions as an adoption center.

About the Shelter

Woodford Humane Society pulls dogs from animal control every week and takes in surrenders. Staff members also pull animals from surrounding areas as resources allow.

The group’s mission is SAVE:

  • Spay/neuter
  • Adopt
  • Volunteer
  • Educate

Any animal is accepted regardless of breed or age, but Woodford Humane is unable to take in large livestock or wildlife animals. The number of animals at the facility averages around 200 or more, and approximately 93% are placed into homes.

No Time Limit

Animals can stay as long as it takes until they get a home.

To Marketing Director Beth Oleson, this policy provides comfort for the employees, too. “The best thing about Woodford Humane is that I know every pet who comes through these doors has a fighting chance at a wonderful life,” she says. “It’s hard to see any pet become homeless, but if it has to happen, they couldn’t ask for a better place to wait for their new best friend to come along.”

While there, dogs enjoy running and playing in the 13 play yards several times each day. Cats enjoy the cage-free colonies where they can play with friends or snooze on a windowsill.

The biggest perk, however, is the people. Oleson explains, “Our staff and volunteers are fantastic. Every animal gets playtime and cuddles.”

They form personal connections with each animal and know them by name — the shelter doesn’t use intake numbers.

Angelo found a forever home after a 2-year wait.

Second Chances

Some of the animals wait a long time for adoption, in some cases as 4 to 5 years.

The “block heads” usually wait quite a while, as was the case for Angelo. The handsome pit bull with big muscles and a tough appearance waited nearly 2 years for someone to see past his exterior and uncover his sweet and loving personality.

Some animals who are taken in suffer from illnesses or injuries. The shelter has a CHAMPS fund for emergency medical expenses so animals can be treated instead of euthanized. Oleson says the fund has been used to treat animals with everything from heartworm infection and parvo to gunshot wounds.

One recent CHAMPS recipient was Bingo, a cat with chemical burns on a hind leg. Veterinarians at VCA Woodford Animal Hospital performed a life-saving amputation, and the fund paid for both the surgery and Bingo’s recovery.

Bingo is grateful for second chances.

A Little Petful Help

Samantha Kindred adopted her dog, Charlie Corgington, from Woodford Humane Society. She entered him in our Halloween Costume Contest last fall, and his photo won a People’s Choice Award.

Kindred’s prize included $275 from Petful to give to the nonprofit shelter or rescue of her choice. She chose Woodford Humane Society without knowing her designation was about to double. When donors write “SAVE” with their donation, the group’s SAVE fund matches the donation. As a result, our $275 donation turned into $550.

How You Can Help


Woodford Humane Society’s capacity doubled when the adoption center’s doors opened. More animals mean more expenses. The older building requires serious renovations — you can donate here.

They’re making do with what they have because, says Oleson, “with out first priority always being the immediate needs of the animals in our care, renovations and repairs become a patchwork project on the back burner — but it’s one that can’t be put off forever.”

Foster or Adopt

Whether you’re looking to help an animal in the short term or want a new best friend, foster parents and adopters make a big difference for the shelter and the animals. If you or someone you know can foster, contact Woodford Humane to see how you can help.


If you can’t donate, foster or adopt, you can still help the rescue by sharing this article with your friends and family. Someone you know may be looking for a new pet or can help the rescue in other ways.

Oleson says she is proud of the organization because of how it cares for the animals: “We truly try to make sure every animal we adopt out walks out the front door happier and healthier than they walked in.”

Kristine Lacoste

View posts by Kristine Lacoste
Kristine Lacoste, editor in chief of Petful, is an author, poet and pet lover from Louisiana. She is the author of an award-nominated book, One Unforgettable Journey, and was host of a weekly pet news segment on the National K-9 Academy Radio Show. She was the New Orleans coordinator for Dogs on Deployment, a nonprofit that helps military members and their pets, for 3 years. She is also employed as chief operating officer for a large mental health practice in Louisiana. Kristine has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Business Administration degree.

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