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The Humane Society of Western Montana wrapped up 2019 with 1,400 adoptions and a $25,000 matching donation, and has taken in four dogs rescued from a 2018 abuse and neglect case, two of which have already been adopted.

“These dogs are from a very large neglect case,” said Executive Director Marta Pierpoint. “They really had very little sociability up until the time that the ASPCA (American Society for the Preventing of Cruelty to Animals) took over.”

The information was released Wednesday in a newsletter.

Four dogs from the neglect case, Jackson, Buddy, Stevie and Yoda, were transferred to the Humane Society in Missoula in December after spending several months with the ASPCA. As of Thursday, Jackson had found a home and the three others were still awaiting adoption. The shelter is hoping Buddy and Stevie will be adopted together, as they've formed a strong bond.

“These animals have been in ASPCA care for a long time, receiving social skills, learning to walk on the leash and just being introduced to things in the world,” Pierpoint said.

The Humane Society has been working with the ASPCA since 2017 as a partner to help shelter the animals they rescue.

While the dogs are considered ready for adoption, the Humane Society continues to work with them while at the shelter and extends services to the adoptive family once the dog is home as well.

“We don’t expect adopters to take them home and have the same experience as adopting a puppy or a dog with a normal social life,” she said. “We provide in-home counseling and assistance to help people have these dogs adjust.”

And these services, which not all shelters provide, are expensive to sustain.

“Because we provide so much medical and behavioral assistance when they’re in our building, those costs are expensive,” she said.

A matching donation of $25,000 will help the Humane Society continue to offer these services and programs.

“We have a very kind donor who is also a volunteer, so he’s in the building frequently and sees the need,” Pierpoint said. “He wanted to help us and decided the best way to do that would be to create a matching situation.”

Part of that money will go towards the shelter’s monthly Pet Care Clinics that launched at the end of 2018 and continued through 2019 with help from a grant.

“We feel these clinics are very important because really, when you look forward, the future of sheltering is to keep animals from ever coming into the building,” she said, adding it’s the most heartbreaking situation when someone feels like they have to surrender their pet because they can’t afford it or don’t have the resources.

“It’s been so heartwarming to be able to help that many animals not come into the building,” Pierpoint said.

The money will also help them continue to work with the ASPCA and take in rescue animals when there are cases of abuse and neglect.

The animals that do end up at the Humane Society have a high chance of finding a home. The shelter adopted out 1,400 animals in 2019, which is in line with prior years and meets its goal of a 98% adoption rate.

“We’ve actually been at a 99% to 99.9% rate for these past couple years,” Pierpoint said. “We’ve gone up a little bit in the past few years because we’re focusing on length of stay and programs to enrich the animals' lives while they’re here, which gets them adopted faster.”

For more information on adoption, services and programs at the Humane Society of Western Montana, visit myhswm.org/.

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