H 81° L 57°
Clear | 6MPH

The Fur (& Feather!) Flyer

Established in 1965, HAWS assists over 6,000 animals and welcomes more than 31,000 human visitors annually. As an "open admissions" shelter we lead the community in animal welfare and assure sanctuary for all animals in need, regardless of age, health or temperament. HAWS is a non-profit, entirely donor-fund organization with an active humane education program, and both wildlife and companion animal rescue services for Waukesha County.

HAWS License #267280-DS

Taco John's and HAWS - Sharing the Holiday Spirit!

adopt, donate, Ugly Sweater, , HAWS, HAWS Waukesha, Humane society Waukesha, Yoda

Read more

Five Things You Probably Never Knew about Animal Shelters

Adopt, adopt a cat, adopt a dog, HAWS, Humane society Waukesha, open admissions

HAWS’ Humane Educator, Khris Erickson, guest blogs this week. Click here to see what else HAWS’ Ed. Department is up to…including Winter Kids ’N Critters Day Camp this December! Follow Khris’ blog all year long here.

1) Animal Shelters are individual organizations; there isn't an umbrella organization that creates policy or that a shelter has to answer to.  

"We adopted him from your _______ location."  At HAWS we hear things like this all the time. 
People are often amazed when we tell them that HAWS is our own organization and we aren't affiliated with other shelters. 

While some shelters have a variety of campuses within a general area, there is no national organization that oversees all of us.  And while we may occasionally work with other shelters on projects, exchange ideas with one another, and sometimes transfer animals, we aren't the same organization at all.  Just 2 of the awesome animals available for adoption at HAWS!

2) Shelters can be government run, but many are private non-profits. 

It seems to be a common misconception that all animal shelters are government run entities that are run off of a tax base.  While some shelters are (usually called "animal control" facilities), many shelters are not.  It really depends on the specific facility.

HAWS is a private, non-profit organization that is run by a member-elected board of directors.  The majority of our funds are obtained through donations and fundraising efforts.  The only money we get from the tax base is by contracting out our services  to many Waukesha County municipalities to handle such things as stray animals and holding animals that have been confiscated from their owners through allegations of neglect or abuse. 

3) Shelters don't necessarily have any authority to investigate neglect or abuse cases. 

An animal control officer or humane officer is the person, besides a police officer, who would investigate allegations of neglect or abuse to an animal.  These are people who have been specifically trained to know the law as it pertains to animal welfare, and are trained in animal care and behavior.  They are also endowed with legal authority to conduct investigations, issue citations and file charges.

Because HAWS is a privately run non-profit we are not a government agency.  The people who investigate neglect and abuse cases in Waukesha County are Humane Officers employed by the County.  HAWS works closely with these officers since we're a holding facility for animals removed from homes through legal action, and also a bite case quarantine facility.  But if we get calls from people wanting to report neglect or abuse of animals in the community we refer them to Waukesha County. 

4) Not all shelters take in stray animals. 

Government run shelters will take in strays - since as an animal control facility that is a large part of their purpose.  Non-profit animal shelters vary depending on their policies and the contracts they may have with area municipalities.

Shelters that choose to be what's called in the animal welfare industry "Limited Intake", take in only those animals that they have space for and that they feel they can place.  They usually don't offer stray or animal control services because to do so could mean that their intake would exceed what they're capable of housing.

The policy of an open admission shelter is to take in any unwanted animal from their community no matter how adoptable or unadoptable it is, what physical condition it is in, or how friendly or aggressive it may be.  HAWS is  run as an "Open Admission" shelter and part of our mission is to provide stray services to municipalities that want to contract with us.

5) Some shelters only take in dogs and cats, others take in a variety of animals.  

HAWS is lucky to have the space and resources to be a truly open admission shelter and we take in just about anything that can be kept as a pet.  We always have rabbits, and almost always have guinea pigs.  Additionally many times you can find birds, small rodents and reptiles at HAWS looking for their forever home!

By the way - another neat thing about HAWS is we are open 7 days a week! Stop by to view our adoptable pets Monday thru Friday from 1-6pm, Saturday from 11am - 4pm and Sunday from noon to 4pm. We'll see you soon!

HAWS’ November: TTouch, "Tales," Portraits & PETS!

Adopt, TTouch, HAWS, HAWS Waukesha, Humane Animal Welfare Society, Humane society Waukesha, Waukesha humane society

Read more

An EPIC Week for HAWS

HAWS, HAWS' Walkathon, Humane Animal Welfare Society, Humane society Waukesha, rescue, adopt a dog

This was an epic week at HAWS! Executive Director Lynn Olenik shares the experience.

We held our first ever “Move Your Mutt” run on Sunday. It was a great event with exposure to some new faces and an early morning walk in the park with staff and volunteers. It was heartwarming to see people out with their best friends for exercise and recreation. It’s so good to see dogs, well cared for and a cherished part of their families.


On Monday, our Animal Rescue Team headed out with the Jefferson County Humane Society, returning to HAWS with 23 little dogs. Returning at noon, the remainder of the day was spent in veterinary exams, vaccinations, and grooming. Because all of them had fleas and various states of mats in their unkempt coats, this needed to be done as soon as possible. Volunteer groomers took on this project, transforming each into an adorable, clean but shy little dog. By Tuesday, staff had moved on to the search for foster homes and rescues, then began spays and neuters. Wednesday, saw more spays, neuters and caring for an additional 20 dogs in the kennel. There was the processing of paperwork and behavior evaluations all to prepare them for adoption. The Behavior Department was working to socialize and calm the dogs that were in a foreign environment. These activities kept the staff hopping the remainder of the week!  Volunteers from Mod Squad socializers to those who help with cleaning and laundry logged additional hours. It takes a team effort to get animals ready for the adoption floor.


Friday was our fall fundraiser, Creatures of the Night.  More than 275 guests joined us at the Marriot for an evening to celebrate pets and join in the cause of supporting our Animal Rescue Team and the services they provide. Though this was planned months in advance, it seemed even more appropriate considering the activities of the week. The event was fun, financially successful, and brought a number of new friends into HAWS. Without our community’s support we would not be able to do the work we do. 


Thank you to all of you – staff, volunteers, board member and our donors – from the 23 little dogs that now have a chance to be a cherished part of someone’s family and the thousands of other Creatures that are part of the ‘HAWS cause’ each year!

By the way – don’t miss our Friends of HAWS Holiday Bazaar this Saturday, November 1st. And be sure to reserve your sitting today for Holiday Pet Portraits coming next weekend, November 8-9! Call 262.542.8851.

A Special Day for Special Little Friends

Guinea Pig, HAWS, HAWS Waukesha, Holiday Pet Photos, Humane Animal Welfare Society, Humane society Waukesha

Sunday is a special day for Guinea Pigs and their fans at HAWS!

Join us at HAWS for our annual Guinea Pig Primer this Sunday, October 26th from Noon to 4pm.

Have a fun afternoon learning all about our little best friends, meet other guinea pig families and share stories. Best of all, guinea pigs are WELCOME to attend this event and participate in our Piggy Costume Contest! (Just be sure to bring your piggy in a carrier for safety and comfort.)

Guest speakers Dr. Denise Follett of Brook-Falls Veterinary Hospital & Exotic Care and Susan Schneck of All Creatures Rescue will discuss housing, behavior and health issues. Please bring your questions as there will be plenty of time for discussion.

Adding to the fun will be raffle items and a fresh farm hay sale. This event is FREE to attend; children must be accompanied by an adult.

By the way - mark your calendar! The Friends of HAWS annual Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale will be held on November 1st, with Holiday Pet Portraits the following weekend, November 8-9.


Page Tools