Humane Society of Greene County ‘a happy place’ | Helping the Helpers

‘Whenever they go out the door to a new family, everybody here is just … it’s like a birthday party’

By: - December 14, 2021 6:30 am

Jane Gapen, director of the HSGC, enjoys a quiet moment with her best co-worker, Gem. Gem was a rescue and staple at the humane society until her passing in 2011, but her legacy lives on through the organization’s work (Uniontown Herald-Standard photo)

By Katherine Mansfield

WAYNESBURG, Pa. — The Humane Society of Greene County is more than a refuge for the neglected, the cold, the sick.

HSGC is a happy place.

(Capital-Star file)

“I have agility equipment, outside play areas,” said Jane Gapen, who has served as executive director since 1995. “Animals need exercise to keep their stress levels down, so they don’t get sick. I don’t want animals in cages. You need to make a humane society a happy place.”

The humane society, located along Jefferson Road in Waynesburg, welcomes and houses any animal in need, Gapen said. Staff and volunteers care for and do their best to match animals with families and individuals whose needs and lifestyles complement one another.

“(HSGC) takes in all animals in need – abused, stray. We rehabilitate them, get the vet care that they need, re-home,” said Gapen. “We also investigate animal cruelty and prosecute it.”

A part-time humane officer investigates animal abuse and neglect. Staff also helps families struggling to provide for pets and shelters animals whose families can no longer care for them.

“We not only help animals, we help people,” Gapen said. “For every animal we help, there’s a family on the end of that animal that we try to help.”

Outreach efforts include education and post-adoption assistance. Pet owners can purchase dog licenses at the humane society, too.

Gapen said besides loving homes, the humane society is always in need of dog and cat food, laundry detergent and blue Dawn dish soap (to clean fleas off neglected or abused animals).

(Submitted photo)

Donations can be made at any time to the donation box outside the humane society.

“Rural humane societies typically don’t have a lot. The animals don’t get what the city shelters can provide,” said Gapen. “Historically, humane societies do great in the cities; there’s loads of people there, loads of businesses. We have to raise money to exist.”

Last year, HSGC was unable to hold its annual fundraising events and is relying on 2022 calendar sales and recurring donations to keep the nonprofit running smoothly next year.

“To be able to get (animals) in here – they’re starving and they’re injured – to get them in here, get them warm, get them food, it just makes my staff happy. Whenever they go out the door to a new family, everybody here is just … it’s like a birthday party. The joy. So many people are happy,” said Gapen. “I want to help people, and I want to help animals.”

Katherine Mansfield is a reporter for the Uniontown Herald-Standard. Readers may email her at [email protected]. Helping the Helpers is a cooperative effort between the Uniontown Herald-Standard and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. 

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