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Humane Society Yukon makes adoption process changes, plans fundraiser

Society gets new executive director and professional advice on new processes
The Humane Society Yukon in Whitehorse on Nov. 12, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News files)

The Humane Society Yukon is changing its approach to adoptions, allowing people to leave with a dog or cat the same day they apply to adopt. According to a May 16 notice from the humane society, the key changes to the adoption process include: discontinuing reference checks and trial adoptions; first-come, first-served and same-day adoptions and “conversation-based appointments to support successful adoptions.”

They also plan to issue reimbursements on returned animals within a month to replace trial adoptions.

“The goals for these changes are to reduce the length of stay for animals in the shelter without compromising animal care and to reduce barriers for potential adopters. Additional processes that have been reviewed are cleaning protocols, vaccination and deworming protocols, volunteer opportunities, public accessibility to the shelter, staff capacity and more,” the announcement of the changes reads.

The changes come at the recommendation of Dr. Alexandre Ellis, an expert in shelter veterinary medicine, who visited the shelter in Whitehorse in late 2022.

“We are always striving to improve and be efficient and evidence-informed in the work we’re doing at the shelter,” said society president Samantha Salter.

“Dr. Ellis’ expertise has been invaluable to our organization and we’re looking forward to implementing changes throughout the next year to improve the care for the animals [and] the staff’s well-being and create less barriers for the public. We’d also like to acknowledge the support of the Government of Yukon’s Community Development Fund, which has allowed us to work with Dr. Ellis on these improvements.”

The changes at the shelter will be implemented over the next year.

New management will be putting the new ideas in motion as Marie Rowe, a recent arrival from Peterborough, Ont., took over as the humane society’s executive director in February. According to the May 16 notice from the humane society, Rowe brings eight years of management experience and a wealth of other knowledge to the role.

As they make the changes, the humane society is also prepping for a fundraiser: the third annual Victoria Gold Klondike Gold Ruff Virtual Run. The virtually logged five-kilometre, 10 kilometre or half marathon can be completed anywhere and anytime between May 19 and 22.

“Participants are encouraged to include their furry four-legged friends and can make their achievement mean something even more by donating and helping raise funds for animal welfare and care in Yukon,” the announcement about the fundraiser reads.

“Those registered are invited to send photos of their training/preparation runs and walks, as well as their involvement during the weekend of the event. Photos can be emailed to or posted to Facebook or Instagram, tagging @HumaneSocietyYukon.”

There will also be an in-person Gold Ruff Run on May 20 at 9:30 a.m. with shelter staff walking the route with some animals housed there. Those interested in joining in on the walk can have a dog harnessed and waiting for them.

Registration closes on May 18. More information can be found at

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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