Paws to ponder

| 28 May 2024 | 03:08

    Did you know, Warwick Valley Humane Society, Inc. is a not-for-profit membership corporation in the State of New York? Did you also know that not for profit organizations can have formal members or not? Being a member of a non-profit means that members in good standing appoint the board of directors, change the by-laws and may dissolve the corporation. In other words, voting members share in these responsibilities, while in a non-membership nonprofit, the board of directors have full responsibility.

    When Warwick Valley Humane Society was incorporated on May 20, 1954, the then-Board of Directors chose to become a membership corporation. Seventy years later, we remain a very small one with only 30 members who pay their annual dues of only $25 for seniors or $50 for individuals. This boggles my mind in a town with a population of over 32,000, according to the 2020 census. Add another 12,600 for the Town of Chester, to which we have provided animal control and shelter services for more than 25 years. According to the Humane Society of the United States 2021-2022 survey, 70% of U.S. households have a pet. Therefore, between Warwick and Chester, there are over 31,000 households that have at least one pet. Why then, does our organization only have less than 0.1% membership? Granted, we have not had giveaways as incentives to become members. We do not spend money meant for the animals’ care for heart-wrenching commercials, nor do we receive any funding from the ASPCA or HSUS.

    So, who do you call if you have an animal emergency? Cat stuck in a tree? Dog hit by a car? Stray domestic rabbit? Menacing dog? Injured wild animal rescue? Giving up a pet? Found kittens? At some time or another, a resident has had to call the shelter for help with some animal emergency or issue from bite incidents to neighbor disputes to taking in pets while the owner is hospitalized. We provide the services of animal control, which technically is picking up and impounding stray dogs. However, over the years we have expanded those services and programs to include rescuing any animal in distress, and helping the public with referrals, transportation, and even medical assistance. Our membership roster should be growing as our towns grow, yet it has not.

    At a recent meeting of the Board of Directors, it was decided to offer a gift to the first 20 new people who join as members as a way of saying welcome and thank you. Plus, anyone who joins in 2024 will be a member in good standing for two years, not just one because it means that much to us. Our membership drive is underway. Please go to under the “How Do I” tab and consider becoming a member, joining us in our mission to help our community’s homeless pets. Become a member because you care.