The History of Kitsap Humane Society

In 1908 Teddy Roosevelt served his last year as President of the United States, Albert Edward Mead was Governor of Washington State, Kitsap County was 50 years old, and Henry Ford introduced the Model T for the amazing price of $850.  Americans were reading Sinclair Lewis’ The Jungle and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles, and a group of visionary individuals formed the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which would evolve into the Kitsap Humane Society (KHS).


What happened to this initial attempt is unknown.  According to Almeda (Harris) Wilson, the woman responsible for the re-establishment of KHS, the early effort “went into oblivion” until World War II.  During WWII the population of the area, particularly in Bremerton, increased dramatically due to the war industries located here.  And the pet population increased proportionally. Often the pets were abandoned when the owners relocated. While volunteers rescued some homeless animals, too many unfortunate pets were merely exterminated by law officials.


Mrs. Wilson recalls that by the 1950’s the problem with stray animals became critical.  After several non-productive efforts to reactivate KHS, in 1961, Mrs. Wilson succeeded.  A group of concerned individuals convened and, after research and planning, presented a proposal to various county and city officials.  Ordinances were written and accepted.  While the building from which it operated was neither adequate nor suitable, KHS was back in operation.


Later in the 1960’s land for the construction of a new shelter near Charleston Beach became available. The shelter was built and then was enlarged in 1971.  By the mid 1980’s the needs of the animals surpassed the capacity and capabilities of the Charleston Beach site.  In 1988, construction was underway at the current shelter location on Dickey Road.  The move to the new building was complete by June 1989.


Today KHS serves the entire county and cares for all domestic animals including livestock and exotic pets.  KHS continues to maintain the Animal Control Division and the Humane Shelter as separate, yet dependent, entities.