Washburn County Humane Society back on its paws after 2017 fire


SPOONER, WI — Nearly two years after a fire devastated the Washburn County Humane Society, the shelter is back on its feet.

It’s taken a lot of fundraising to re-open their doors, helping find forever homes for the hundreds of pets that come in and out.

“I hate that we had the fire,” Shelter Manager Tracey Drufke said. “But being here and seeing how happy the staff is — we still have staff from the fire here — and just seeing how much better everything is, it’s wonderful.

The fire took place in March of 2017.

“The place went up in flames,” Drufke said. “We lost three cats in the fire, I believe it was.”

But thanks to the heroics of a neighbor that day, over 20 cats and two dogs were rescued, and an uphill battle began.

“A neighbor across the street saw the fire happen and he ran in and got all of the animals out,” Drufke said. “Out of that, only having three losses, you know, thanks to that man, we were able to save a ton of lives that day.”

Following the fire, the Human Society was forced to move elsewhere, and temporarily stay in a space rented to them for the time being.

It was terrible for the community to go through it, as well as the animals,” Drufke said.

Through donations from community members, the shelter was able to purchase a new location, bigger and better than the one before.

“Without them, we wouldn’t be here,” Drufke said. “The animals wouldn’t be where there are.”

It opened in September, and staff members say life for them and their furry friends has been looking up ever since.

“It’s the, honestly, best part of the job is being able to see these animals go from difficult situations and find perfect homes,” Drufke said.

Staff members say adoption rates have increased dramatically ever since opening up the new shelter.

Gamiel Hall

Gamiel Hall

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