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What does the Humane Society of Wilkes do?

The Humane Society of Wilkes is a volunteer organization. We are dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals, the relief of suffering among animals, and the education of the public regarding humane treatment of animals. We support these goals through our member dues, tax-deductible donations, and fund-raising projects such as our boothannual Best Friends Calendar and booths at the Brushy Mountain Apple Festival and yard sales.

With these funds we have been able to pull and foster many dogs and cats from the Wilkes County Animal Services, get them necessary veterinary care, and get them adopted into appropriate homes. We also use the funds to maintain a website that promotes adoption from the county shelter and for our foster pets, as well as providing information about pet care and animal welfare to the public.

We also help to pay for spaying and neutering of pets for low-income residents of Wilkes County.

By helping to pay for pet sterilization, we are helping to reduce the problem of pet overpopulation. Recently, we have also begun fundraising to allow us to build a “no-kill” shelter of our own, so that we do not have to depend solely on available foster homes to save adoptable pets from euthanasia or other dangers.

Click here for spay/neuter financial assistance

How can I help and/or get involved with the Humane Society of Wilkes?

First, become a member of the HSOW. Once you are a member, you. You can contact our fund-raising committee to help with fundraising projects. You can contact our adoption committee to provide a foster home for a pet, help us care for foster pets, or help with monthly adoption fairs.

Additionally, you could help with other needed support, such as grant writing, photography, building and equipment maintenance, vet visits, and many other services that help us help the animals.

We receive no government funding; therefore, monetary contributions that help us defray costs such as veterinary care and supplies and equipment greatly help with monthly adoption fairs.

Monetary contributions are always greatly appreciated and are tax deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law.

Contributions may be mailed to Humane Society of Wilkes, P. O. Box 306, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659.

Do you have a shelter?

The Humane Society of Wilkes does not currently have an animal shelter. Our volunteers work closely with the personnel at the Wilkes County Animal Shelter to help get pets adopted.

Having a shelter is currently a fundraising priority of our society, but we do not currently have sufficient manpower or funds to provide a shelter.

The Wilkes County Animal Shelter is located at 408 Call St. in Wilkesboro, NC. Their telephone number is 336-903-7688 and their hours are 10:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday - Friday, and 10:30 AM to noon on Saturday, except for holidays.

What are the alternatives to taking a pet to the county shelter?

First, we would encourage you to think carefully before rehoming your pet. There are no perfect pet owners, and pets are more adaptable than we think. Additional training, leash walking or other exercise, and veterinary care such as spay/neuter can often mitigate the problems pet owners experience with their pets.

There are organizations to help with food expenses, vet bills, and fencing if your challenges are financial. If you have no choice, however, there are some rescue groups that can help with finding new homes for friendly pets. Also, some Facebook and other social media groups focus on supporting local pet owners. The alternatives are to try to find a home for the pet by using some of the following methods.

Try placing an ad in the local newspapers, or posting a notice on a bulletin board at work. You might also place an ad on the radio. Call local veterinary offices and ask them to post a notice on their bulletin boards and let your friends and neighbors know that you are trying to place the pet.

We recommend that you be very careful about giving your pet to someone you don’t know, however. There are people who collect “free to good home” pets for terrible reasons. Surrendering your pet to the county shelter, which charges an adoption fee to discourage those whose motives are questionable, is better than accidentally giving them to dog fighters, puppy mills, or those who sell to research labs.

See our Resources Page for some of the organizations that can help, or send us a message to ask for advice.

If you have found a stray cat or dog, you should contact Wilkes County Animal Services. In most cases, you should bring the animal to the Wilkes County Animal Shelter or have Animal Services pick it up from you.

If the animal has caring owners, the shelter is the one of the first places they will look for it. Shelter staff will check for microchips and follow up on information on tags. All stray pets are held for at least 72 hours to give owners a chance to find their pet. In the meantime, you can use social media and other means to let people know you found the pet and that it awaits them in the shelter.

After 72 hours, the shelter will make the pet available for adoption to the public, if it is healthy and friendly. In addition to public adoption, several rescue groups pull dogs and cats from the county shelter, including the HSOW, Partners! Canines and the Charlotte Humane Society. Taking a stray animal to the county shelter is not “a death sentence,” as some people believe. However, the county cannot house pets indefinitely.

How do I adopt an animal?

Visit our Adoption Page for more information in animal fostering and adoption.

What if I'm not sure my new pet will work out?

Please understand that when you adopt a pet, you are adopting a lifelong companion and making a lifelong commitment to love and care for that pet. Consider very carefully whether you will be able to provide for the pet's needs physically, emotionally, and financially. Think about your available time for that pet, how much space you have (we recommend securely fenced yards), and your ability to train or get training for it

Wait to adopt a pet until you are sure that you can do so. If you adopt a HSOW foster pet and it doesn't work out, the HSOW will always take our foster pets back, as do most reputable rescues; however, we generally do not refund adoption fees beyond the first week. (Discuss that with the foster home before adopting.)

What is "Microchipping?"

Microchipping is a way of identifying pets and determining ownership if the pet should become lost.

The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected under the pet's skin in the shoulder area. It remains there, and the information contained in the microchip can be read with a special reader. This information can be used to help to find the owner of the pet. It is critical for pet owners to keep this information updated.

Do I need to keep my pet on heartworm prevention?

Yes, you should have your adult dogs and outdoor cats tested for heartworms, then put and keep them on prevention if they were not started when young. Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal disease in pets in the United States, and it is common in North Carolina. It is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitos.

Heartworm prevention comes in a variety of forms (pills, chewables, topicals, injections) and can also prevent other common parasites. Discuss the best option for your pets with your veterinarian.

When should I get my pet vaccinated?

Both puppies and kittens should start their initial series of vaccines at around six weeks of age.

Puppies are vaccinated for distemper, adenovirus, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.

Kittens are vaccinated for panleukopenia (feline distemper), rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and chlamydia.

After the initial series, adult dogs and cats should receive vaccine boosters each year. All dogs and cats four months old and older are required by North Carolina law to have a rabies vaccine. The first rabies vaccine is good for one year; subsequent rabies vaccines are good for three years.

There are other vaccines, such as feline leukemia and kennel cough vaccine, which may be recommended in some cases. Your veterinarian will discuss vaccines with you and recommend a vaccine schedule.

When should I have my pet spayed or neutered?

It is recommended that all dogs and cats be spayed or neutered at about six months of age.

If you adopt a pet from the Wilkes County Animal Shelter or the Humane Society of Wilkes, the adoption fee covers the cost of spaying or neutering. The Humane Society of Wilkes also funds a spay and neuter voucher program that assists pet owners with the cost of neutering pets that did not come from the shelter.

Click here for more information.

What's wrong with letting my pet have at least one litter before spaying?

Many people believe that an animal must have a litter of puppies or kittens in order to mature properly. This belief is completely untrue. There is no benefit, either physical or psychological, from your pet having a litter, and there are risks to pregnancy and delivery.

Until there are more homes available than puppies and kittens being born, many wonderful puppies and kittens will have to be euthanized every day. If you do decide to breed your pet, be sure you have homes lined up for the litter in advance. Many people also believe that there are no purebred animals in shelters and that all purebred pets will find homes. This is also untrue. In addition to purebred pets coming into the local shelter, there are also specialized breed rescues that can become available.

Please go to our Spay/Neuter page for more information on this topic.

What does pet overpopulation mean?

Pet overpopulation occurs when there are more animals than homes available for them.

Responsible pet ownership includes spaying and neutering to help control pet overpopulation. Please go to our Spay/Neuter page for more information on this topic.

How do I report animal abuse or neglect?

Please call Wilkes County Animal Services control at 336-903-7688 to report animal neglect and/or abuse. The HSOW does not have legal authority to remove animals or file charges against abusers; Wilkes County Animal Services does. 

What should I do if I find a sick or injured animal?

Be very careful with sick or injured animals and do not touch them if at all possible. Animal bites can be very serious and require extensive medical treatment.

With unknown animals, there is also a risk of being exposed to rabies. If the animal has on a collar with tags, and you can safely read the tags, try to contact the owner.

If there are no tags, or if they cannot be read for any reason, you should contact Animal Services at 336-903-7688. If it is after regular hours, call the sheriff's department and they can reach the officer on duty.

If you have found injured wildlife, you may also contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility or officer. See our Resource page for information.

What do I do if there is an emergency?

Contact your local veterinarian. Currently Wilkes county veterinarians do not offer 24-hour services. If after hours, contact an emergency veterinarian.

Animal Emergency Clinic of the High Country
1710 NC-105
Boone, NC 28607
(828) 268-2833

Carolina Veterinary Specialists
1600 Hanes Mall Blvd
Winston Salem, NC 27103

Carolina Animal Specialty and Emergency
1050 US Hwy 321 NW
Hickory, NC 28601
(828) 328-6697