As advocates for animal welfare, Helping Hands Humane Society, Inc. provides sanctuary for animals in need of compassionate care and protection. We accept responsibility for:
Fostering the adoption of healthy animals into responsible homes and reuniting lost animals with their owners
Reducing overpopulation by promoting sterilization of animals
Providing an accessible facility with effective leadership and well-trained staff
Serving the community through education and addressing animal welfare issues
Maintaining a fiscally responsible organization by adhering to the highest standards of integrity
An article in the Topeka Capital-Journal dated March 20, 1910 indicates the recognized beginning of our local humane society around 1890. Established by Judge C.G. Foster for the welfare of children as well as animals, the Foster Humane Society was to “look to the welfare of every living creature”.
The work of the Foster Society was carried out by a limited number of members – primarily the brothers and sisters of the King family. A stray or crippled dog found wandering sought shelter in their home. Horses and other animals found crippled and starving were taken to places of comfort and cared for. In a 1919 report, the Foster Society investigated 225 cases of cruelty and neglect of children; 103 horses and mules being worked while in unfit conditions; and many other cases of cruelty to animals. Those who wished to help support this work were asked to give one dollar or more.
On May 4, 1938, the Shawnee County Humane Society was chartered as a non-profit organization. A small group of dedicated individuals used their own cars to pick up animals, their own yards to shelter them and their own money to pay food.
In 1944, a gift of $1,000 was used to purchase a three acre tract of land at 1216 Republican. The newspaper headline read “Winter Security for Stray Dogs as Humane Society Buys a New Home”.
By 1951, the Society shelter was moved to 2625 Rochester Road. The flood of 1951 left the shelter unusable and destroyed all of the Society’s records. One volunteer kept 35 dogs in her home. The budget was tight with memberships still at one dollar. The shelter continued to operate often only with volunteer help.
In 1954, Topeka labor organizations including stone masons, cement workers, carpenters and electricians volunteered to help build a new shelter. Martin Tractor provided a bulldozer and driver; Allen’s Airport volunteered a tractor. Sargent Excavating dug the foundation and Gerlach Builders, Victory Sand and the Stone Co. gave cement. A lumberyard and a furnace company gave supplies and Mosby-Mack donated a truck to pick up animals. Others contributed labor and financial support in a remarkable community effort. The new building was 50 by 70 feet. An open house was held November 7, 1954.
In 1956, a pet cemetery was established on the shelter grounds. In 1959, a special shelter room for cats was constructed.
The Society began again to keep records and in 1963 was sheltering 2,700 dogs a year. Though no definitive records were maintained, it was estimated that the Topeka City Pound was impounding 1,500 dogs a year at a cost of $8,400. City dogs were temporarily held at the Gage Park Police Dog Training Area in three small pens. In December 1963, the Society indicated they could shelter the city’s impounded dogs at whatever cost the city would pay. The city settled on $50 a month. During the first month, 66 dogs were held for the city until their owners redeemed them or three days had passed as established in the ordinance. The amount has changed over the years in an attempt to meet the rising costs of animal care.
In 1965, the shelter legally changed its name from the Shawnee County Humane Society to the Helping Hands Humane Society. Its goal was not only to serve Topeka and Shawnee County, but a wider regional area as well.
On January 5th, 2013 Helping Hands Humane Society moved from 2625 NW Rochester Rd to 5720 SW 21st Street.
The shelter remains deeply aware that its ability to provide help to animals depends entirely on the help it receives from the community it serves. The shelter has a noble past and an exciting future!