Our History

History of the Door County Humane SocietyFor many decades, Door County was equipped with little more than a handful of small municipal pounds to deal with the overwhelming lost and homeless animal population within its borders. In the early 1990s, concerned with the lack of shelter and resources for the county’s cats and dogs, a group of animal lovers in the community began to envision a better solution. In 1992, they obtained official 501(c)(3) status and the Door County Humane Society was born, though at first only in concept as they worked to raise funds and plan for a shelter facility.

In 1995, Kathrine F. Maples, a dedicated supporter of the humane society, passed away and left a sizable donation to DCHS in her will. With the funds, DCHS planned for, and in 1999, broke ground on the first ever non-profit shelter in the county. Over time, the shelter grew in numbers and expertise. In 2013, the estate of Marie Shea Peterson donated over $400,000 which was used to start a major renovation. Thanks to this donation, the shelter has been renovated and expanded to what is now: a 12,000-square-foot facility that takes in and adopts out hundreds of animals each year.

Most recently, in August of 2017, we unveiled the Barbara G. Gilman Animal Adoption Center. The DCHS was happy to honor Gilman’s many years of involvement, fundraising efforts, and generosity. In the words of Executive Director, Carol Boudreau, Gilman is “most deserving” of this honor celebrating her time spent working events; serving on the Board of Directors; recruiting new volunteers, donors, and board members; and assisting with special needs animals. In addition to her time and efforts, Gilman has donated furniture, artwork, and continues to support the shelter financially. Gilman is, as Boudreau says, a “force to be reckoned with and a huge support and mentor.” While the organization will still be known as the Door County Humane Society, DCHS is thrilled to have Gilman’s name on the building.