Where it All Began…

On September 11, 1922 the State of Wisconsin granted the original charter for the creation of the Humane Society of Jefferson County. After the Depression the shelter occupied a Quonset hut just north of the city of Jefferson with caretakers Fred and Helen Lehman residing in a small house on the property. They were paid $100 a month with an additional $3 for each stray dog they took in.

In 1965 Don Meske was appointed as the humane officer and took on the job of caring for the shelter and its animals until 1975. He and his family shared the animal care duties and Don is quoted as saying, “It kept the kids busy and helped them grow up into good human beings.”

In the 1970’s the organization saw a tremendous increase in the number of animals needing assistance. The society re-examined its mission, ultimately deciding to focus on the quality of animal care, rebuilding or remodeling the shelter, and educating the public on the importance of spaying and neutering their pets.

Fifteen years later, the number of litters of puppies in the area had decreased because more owners had begun to spay and neuter their dogs. However, the number of unwanted cats and kittens continued to rise.

In 1978 the shelter moved to a facility on Kiesling Road in Jefferson. Originally built as a privately owned dog kennel, the shelter was remodeled to accommodate dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and the occasional farm animal. Over the years this building became increasingly outdated and inadequate, and the HSJC moved into its modern and spacious new facility in the spring of 2015.