Humane Society prepares for uptick in animals; Puppy adoption fundraiser Tuesday

Cheyanne Neuffer

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe is preparing for a possible uptick in animal relinquishments due to financial hardships and changes in housing.

HSTT wants to help pet owners by providing medical care, healthy food and a safe, warm place to live for every pet.

To help raise money to prepare for these costs, HSTT is participating in an emergency “Giving Tuesday,” campaign on May 5. On that day, the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe will have $20,000 in matching funds available and everyone who makes a $150 tax-deductible contribution will be entered to win a $500 VISA gift card.

Eleven puppies will also be up for adoption May 5. Adoption occurs over the phone and through Zoom. Staff also provides assistance throughout the adoption journey.

“So far, HSTT has been able to meet the need through the generosity of our volunteers, the community and through purchases with a very generous grant given to us by the Town of Truckee,” said Erin Ellis, community engagement director, in a press release. “In order to continue these programs and our efforts to help people and pets in our community, we need monetary donations more than ever.”

Ellis said that they are in the same boat as other shelters and haven’t seen the uptick yet but are preparing for when it does happen.

Luckily, they were able to foster and adopt out all the animals before the possible increase. HSTT is planning to see more needs for medical care financial assistance as the coronavirus economic impact continues.

“This is a standing pattern as this continues to evolve,” Ellis said.

Henry Bzezinski, chief of El Dorado County Animal Services, said they haven’t yet seen the increase of relinquishments.

“We know this could change if family incomes are affected for too long,” Bzezinski said. “It’s important to note that it’s against the law to abandon or neglect a pet, or to not provide appropriate medical care for pets. We understand these are difficult times for everyone and we are here if members of the public have questions about their animals or are struggling to care for them.”

Bzezinski said that while the number of adoptable pets changes everyday in their shelters, today the numbers were a bit lower than normal.

To keep all pets in their home, Ellis said that they are going to need to be at assistance.

“It’s just going to be a matter of time before services will really be needed,” said Ellis.

HSTT is making sure they are ready to weather the influx when it gets here. Ellis says that their number one mission is to keep animals in their homes and HSST is going to be there to help make sure that happens with programs and services.

Ellis said the Tahoe region stands apart from many when it comes to animal care.

“Our community is really unique. It is very animal-centric.”

While all transfers are on hold due to state-orders, usually only 30-35% of animals at HSTT are strays or relinquishments, the rest are transfers. Ellis explained that HSTT partners with other shelters and when animals are to be euthanized at other shelters, HSTT will pull as many as they can fit. Transfer animals usually make up 70% of the animals.

Ellis and Bzezinski both said the number of calls about stray dogs has significantly decreased. People are home with their pets right now which minimizes their chance of getting out.

Contributions will also help community members care for their pets with help from the free Pet Pantry food distribution program.

HSTT is partnering with Bread and Broth to distribute free pet food. Pet owners can also pick up food at 3438 South Lake Blvd., from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. – noon on Saturday.

On Saturday, people can support HSTT by downloading the WoofTrax app which tracks walks and makes a donation with each walk.

HSTT is also encouraging people to sign up to be a foster. There are no pets available for foster now, but there will be in the future.

For more information, visit or call 530-587-5948, or follow HSTT on Facebook at

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