The Eau Claire County Humane Association

The mission of Eau Claire County Humane Association (ECCHA) is to be a voice for all animals by providing education, resources, support for the community and compassionate care for homeless animals until they can be placed in forever homes. We emphasize coordinating with other organizations to promote animal welfare.

Animals truly need the voices of their human advocates. All too often, when the interests of man and animal are in conflict, man prevails. Animal welfare refers to the state of an animal in relation to its ability to cope with its environment. It encompasses both the physical and mental well-being of an animal, as well as its ability to engage in natural behaviors and its freedom from unnecessary pain, suffering or distress. Animal welfare focuses on ensuring animals are treated with respect and compassion and that their needs are met in a way that allows them to live full and healthy lives. ECCHA is dedicated to educating the public about the need for the humane treatment of all animals and responsible pet ownership.

ECCHA is the only “open admission” shelter within a 100-mile radius of Eau Claire County. This means we take any animal considered domesticated regardless of age, breed, temperament, medical status or behavior. We serve them all – from dogs, cats, small animals, reptiles and chickens to goats, horses…and more.

Be The Voice Capital Campaign

Be the voice for animals in need by supporting ECCHA in our mission to build a new facility that will help enhance the quality of care we provide for every animal that comes through our doors.


Shelley Janke
Executive Director
Shelley has been the ECCHA director since 2018. She has an extensive fundraising and non-profit background. She's had many rescue animals, but currently has one cat and two dogs at home!
(715) 839-4747ext. 1025
Karen Rabideaux
Director of Animal Care
Karen has been with ECCHA since 2010! Coming from a diverse background in zoos, she has put her animal care skills to work for thousands of residents from ECCHA. She's had Jack russel mixes most of her life, and loves fostering rabbits!
(715) 839-4747ext. 1021
MaKayla Johnson
Humane Officer and Shelter Manager
Kayla has been with ECCHA since 2018. She responds to abuse and neglect cases in Eau Claire County, and oversees all of the care for every animal in the shelter. She has two rescue dogs from ECCHA at home!
(715) 839-4747ext. 1030
Addie Erdmann
Marketing & Development Director
Addie has been with ECCHA since 2021. She has a non-profit and PR background and manages anything to do with fundraising, social media and marketing. She has a rescue dog at home!
(715) 839-4747ext. 1035
Jessica Stewart
Foster Coordinator
Jessica has been with ECCHA on and off since 2019 serving in multiple roles. Jessica has a long history of shelter work anywhere from Boston to Chicago. She has two rescue dogs and two rescue cats at home!
(715) 839-4747ext. 1026
Tracey Newhouse
Director of Community Outreach & Volunteer Services
Tracey has been with ECCHA since 2019. She helps facilitate adoption events, rallies our volunteers and speaks to organizations about ECCHA's mission. She is a huge pug lover, but currently has two rescue dogs at home from ECCHA!
(715) 839-4747ext. 1024
Tamara Schimmel
Shelter Manager
Tamara has been with ECCHA on and off since 2010! She boasts a wide knowledge of shelter care and we are excited to welcome her into a leadership role as co-shelter manager.
(715) 839-4747ext. 1024
Raven Johnson
Customer Care Supervisor
Raven joined the ECCHA team in 2022. She is the rockstar of all things customer service - more often than not she is who you will talk to regarding adoptions, lost/found animals, and more! Raven has 3 dogs and 2 cats at home.
(715) 839-4747ext. 1021

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors keep everything running smoothly at the shelter. Elected by our membership, the Board holds regular meetings to establish policies and operational guidelines for the shelter.
Stephanie Sorenson
President Stephanie is the owner of Paws & Claws Total Dog and has served as a board member for many years. Her family has always had dogs and cats in their home, plus all of her daycare dogs!
Jennifer Severin
Vice President and Treasurer Jennifer has been a board member of ECCHA for several years. She is both a cat and dog person. Currently, she has three dogs! She has nonprofit experience and a business background and she hopes to use those skills to help the shelter continue to provide vital services to the animals and people in our community.
Dr. William Heth
Dr. William Heth is a retired medical professional from Mayo clinic. He has always been an animal lover and advocate and has served on the board for many years. You will often see him volunteering his time at the shelter walking dogs, doing dishes or helping us clean!
Shelley Scott
Secretary Shelley Scott joined the board in 2021. Her background is mainly in marketing and software. She has always loved animals, and has a rescue dog and two cats at home. Shelley is the secretary and chair of our Education Committee.
Patti Monson
Patti Monson joined the board in 2021 and has been involved with ECCHA for many years prior. She is a huge cat lover and often uses her creativity to help with many ECCHA events and promotions. Patti is on the planning committee for our Annual Cat's Meow Gala in the Fall.
Katie Luther
Katie Luther joined the board in 2021 and works at RCU. She is a huge dog lover and has been a supporter of ECCHA for many years! Katie and her husband recently started fostering through ECCHA, and they love it!
Kevin Renley
Kevin Renley joined the board in 2023 but has been a volunteer of ECCHA for a few years with his two daughters. Kevin is a big dog lover - you will often find him volunteering his time to walk dogs in the afternoon at the shelter. He and his family just adopted a puppy from ECCHA!
Chris Glenz
Chris Glenz joined the board in 2023, but has been involved with ECCHA for several years serving as our IT person. Chris has always been passionate about animals and animal welfare and is excited to be more involved in the shelter!
Heidi Conner
Heidi joined the ECCHA board in 2023. She is a big dog lover and even adopted one from ECCHA over 13 years ago! She is involved in the shelter because she values that ECCHA teaches responsible pet ownership in the community.

Shelter Stats


Animals Taken into Shelter in 2022


Animals Adopted in 2022


Lost Pets Reunited with their Owners in 2022


Spays and Neuters Performed in 2022


Live Release Rate - No Kill Shelter in 2022


Volunteer Hours

Our History

As you venture through this timeline, you will discover a journey rooted in compassion, empathy and unwavering dedication to the welfare of all living beings. From humble beginnings to significant milestones, ECCHA's evolution mirrors the ever-growing love and care we extend to both animals and humans alike.

Summer 1968

The Bi-County Humane Association is established to serve the counties of Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls

Summer of 1974

Land donated from Dr. Walter M. Klein for the future permanent home of the Association

March 1975

Physical Shelter building is opened at 3800 Old Town Hall Rd (now Paws & Claws Total Dog)

May 24th, 1978

Name change to the Eau Claire Area Humane Association

February 29, 1985

Name changed to Eau Claire County Humane Association

January 1986

Eau Claire County’s First Humane Officer, Eric D. Johnson, begins work to enforce animal welfare laws on behalf of Eau Claire County


ECCHA Celebrates 25 years in the Eau Claire Area!

October 1998

Construction begins for new shelter located at 3900 Old Town Hall Rd


We All Love Our Pets (WALOP) launches to help provide food and supplies to the elderly, physically challenged, or low income applicants in an effort to keep pets with their families


ECCHA introduces the Pet Transitional Living Program in collaboration with Bolton Refuge House to provide temporary pet shelter for family pets that could be in danger of domestic violence

Spring 2016

ECCHA Renovates and creates a new, more feline enriching Cat Colony Room

Summer 2016

ECCHA implements new sanitation procedure throughout the shelter to significantly reduce the transmission of pathogens and keep animals healthy and adoptable

Fall 2016

ECCHA implements a more robust dog enrichment program designed to keep dogs comfortable, physically active, and mentally engaged - improving their stay and increasing their adoptability

Spring 2017

The Barn Cat Program is established, giving cats who are not suited to be companion animals the opportunity to be working cats at farms and factories

January 2018

The Community Pet Food Pantry is established on shelter grounds

June 2018

ECCHA board of directors re-establishes the Building Committee to begin evaluation and design process of a new shelter

October 2018

ECCHA Celebrates 50 years!

June 2021

ECCHA officially begins fundraising for the new building

May 2022

ECCHA hosts public phase launch party to announce the new building project

April 2023

ECCHA hosts groundbreaking celebration for the new building

Summer 2024

ECCHA opens doors to the new shelter


A Commitment to Animals

We wish to contribute to a better life for animals and to inspire awareness of and compassion for all living beings. We aspire to provide a safe haven, loving attention, nutritious food, meticulous health care and daily exercise to each and every animal in our care. We do our best to secure each animal in a permanent, loving and responsible home. We carefully attempt to match companion animals with caregivers to attain a quality and nurturing lifestyle for both pet and owner.

Much of our time and energy goes toward ending the specific problem of pet overpopulation. We will be active in our community educating the children in our schools, bringing the community together with fundraisers and pet-friendly events and ensuring that each pet owner has all the resources and information necessary to care for their pet.

Positioning Statement on Euthanasia

ECCHA is committed to reducing euthanasia. We believe every animal deserves an opportunity. Our goal is to serve animals throughout their lives, with our programs’ primary focus on ending homelessness and addressing the needs of animals. We strive to do the greatest good (given limited resources) to help the greatest number of animals.

In balancing the welfare of the animals with our responsibility to the public, we recognize not all animals are suitable for adoption. Therefore, when the difficult decision is made to end an animal’s life, we believe compassionate euthanasia by injection is the most humane and dignified method. This difficult decision is made ONLY when all other options have been exhausted, including working with other shelters, raising funds to provide medical care and utilizing our network of foster homes.

Our board and staff are committed to the open admission philosophy, responsibility for using our resources to help animals and finding alternatives to euthanasia.

Positioning Statement on Declawing

The Eau Claire County Humane Association is strongly opposed to declawing cats for the convenience of their owners or to prevent damage to household property. The only circumstances in which the procedure should be considered are those in which all behavioral and environmental alternatives have been fully explored, have proven ineffective and the cat is at risk of euthanasia.

Cats’ claws play a vital part of in their ability to defend themselves. They use them to capture prey and settle disputes with or escape from other animals or people who are hurting or threatening them. Furthermore, as part of their daily rituals, cats instinctually pull the claws on their front paws through surfaces that offer resistance. They do this to mark their territory, exercise muscles usually used in hunting, relieve stress and remove worn sheaths from their nails.

Declawing of cats, or onychectomy, is the amputation of the last digital bone, including the nail bed and claw on each front toe. If the surgery is performed correctly and the entire nail bed is removed, the claws cannot regrow. The surgery involves the risk of anesthesia, excessive bleeding and postoperative complications  (including infection) and is accompanied by pain that may last several days to much longer unless appropriate pain control is provided.

Various alternatives exist to manage natural scratching behavior and prevent injury from cat scratches. These include having a cat’s nails trimmed regularly in order to blunt the tips. Providing scratching pads, posts, and other appealing structures for the cat is another great way to intercede. You can use behavior modification techniques to induce the cat to use them. Deterrents such as double-sided tape (e.g., Sticky Paws ®) can be used to protect furnishings, and covering the claws with soft temporary pads (e.g., Soft Claws ®) is another excellent alternative.

Owners should also be familiar with cat behavior and proper handling techniques to avoid being scratched. Because declawing has not been proven an effective method for improving other behavioral issues, including aggression towards people or other cats, it should never be used as a behavioral remedy (or as a preventative measure). Instead, behavior concerns should be discussed with trained behavioral experts, who can recommend effective techniques for managing feline behavior issues. Therefore, we believe that it is the responsibility of animal welfare advocates to inform individuals of alternative, nonsurgical methods to address destructive clawing, including referral to a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.

Join Our Crew

Make your love and commitment to animal welfare your career.

To see all of our open job listings, see here

2022 Shelter Statistics

View and download ECCHA’s 2023 Shelter Statistics


Check out our list of frequently asked questions. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, please reach out to us.
How many animals do you adopt out each year?
On average, we adopt 1,500 animals out yearly.
Do you euthanize or “put down” animals?
“ECCHA is committed to reducing euthanasia. We believe every animal deserves an opportunity. Our goal is to serve animals throughout their lives, and our programs focus on ending homelessness and addressing the needs of animals. We strive to do the greatest good, given limited resources, to help the greatest number of animals. In balancing the welfare of the animals with our responsibility to the public, we recognize not all animals are suitable for adoption. When the difficult decision is made to end an animal’s life, we believe compassionate euthanasia by injection is the most humane and dignified method. This difficult decision is made ONLY when all other options have been exhausted, including working with other shelters, raising funds to provide for medical care, and utilizing our network of foster homes.”
Are you county funded?
ECCHA is not county funded. We have contracts with municipalities in the area to board animals, but we do not receive money from the county or city.
Where do you get your funding?
Close to 70% of our funding comes from donations! The remaining 30% is from contracts with municipalities as well as grants.

Contact Us

Whether you’re looking to adopt, volunteer or simply want to chat about your love for animals, we’re all ears (and paws). Contact us today!

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