I joined this team 4 years ago right before the horrible fire. Since then, the entire team has worked diligently to keep this organization going. The leadership team, staff, board, donors and volunteers have risen to the challenge and are headed for a bright future. Always, the animals have been the first priority and we have saved 1000's of animals that would have killed from public shelters. They save animals that would never had a chance otherwise. I am proud to be affiliated with this organization. We would love to have anyone tour the shelter, ask questions about how things are done or even meet the leadership team. We are starting a rebuild/capital campaign soon so we can continue to save more lives, teach our community about spay/nueter and proper animal care.
I have been a donor of Berkeley Humane's for years. I am very pleased with the progress that has been made for the animals in the past few years. A new shelter is badly needed, but building a new facility is a huge project and takes time to do it right. Until then, the organization is a solid resource for homeless cats and dogs and for people looking to adopt them. I am proud to support Berkeley Humane.
What a bitter review! I found BEBHS to so professionally run, so clean, and so helpful in answering questions. The staff clearly care about the animals. With the client traffic, the animals are always played with and clearly love the attention. I see a new pet in the future and it would come from BEBHS.
Such nice people there.
My daughter and I volunteered there throughout last year and had nothing but a positive experience. I admire the dedicated staff in an enviornment that at times must be very stressful. I think they do an admirable job adopting out as many animals as they do with the resouces at hand especially after the fire years ago.
May I also add that a significant amount of my annual contribution is to Berkeley Humane and have always felt that the leasdership is dedicated to using my money to help and home animals, exactly what I would want in a humane society.
As a newer staff member in the Berkeley Humane Hospital... I had heard of some previous discontent centered around issues that happen at EVERY shelter (indeed almost every nonprofit organization) - burnout, frustration at lack of resources, older (in this case tragically destroyed) facilities, the immense daily challenges that face any animal welfare organization juggling medical needs, city politics and human nature. What I found as I began to work there was a continually growing group of staff and volunteers who are simply some of the most dedicated professionals and passionate animal lovers I have ever had the pleasure to know. To a person - including management, Executive Director Corinne Lamata, etc. - EVERYONE is committed to the welfare of animals in Berkeley and the surrounding communities. EVERYONE works long hours to care for, rehabilitate, feed, medically treat, socialize, and just generally LOVE, every animal that comes to BEBHS. EVERYONE is also committed to each other and to creating an excellent work environment in incredibly challenging physical circumstances. Are they overwhelmed? Of course! Who wouldn't be? Great organizations always suffer growing pains. BEBHS is entering an era of incredible growth - literally rising from its own ashes - to serve animals and the community in even greater capacity than previously. This effort is worthy of huge support, and I encourage anyone who is considering becoming a donor to call BEBHS and schedule a tour. Talk to the people working there. They (we!) will, to a person, tell you how very worthy of your support this organization is. And then we'll show you the faces of the animals we care for...up to 1,000 of them this year ... and the adopters we've connected with new family members... and the economically disadvantaged people we've helped keep their pets at home. They'll tell you the same, amazing, story: BEBHS is a worthy organization doing an incredible job against huge odds to better dramatically the lives of your neighbors, animal and human alike.
I worked there for 4 months, in addition to other volunteer work for events. I found the team dedicated, full of purpose and compassion. They are tasked with a sometimes impossible set of challenges, and they always rise to the occasion. I was consistently impressed by the process they applied to each situation to make sure animals had the best possible outcome. I'd never seen an operation up close like this before, and it was inspiring and made me feel hopeful about the fate of cats and dogs in the East Bay in general. They can't solve every problem a tough urban area has to throw at them, but they get high marks from me. Try walking in their shoes to see how tough it is to manage animals, volunteers, city regulations, building permits. They are super stars.
My first introduction to Berkeley Humane was as a volunteer over 10 years ago. I walked dogs very early in the morning. When I adopted my first dog, I attended puppy kindergarten at night. This organization has been saving the lives of animals since 1927, survived a devastating fire, economic downturns, and staff transitions. My experiences have been positive. This is a non-profit with a big heart, compassion for animals, community commitment, and a very hard-working dedicated staff. I'm proud to be a donor and will continue to support Berkeley Humane.
I adopted my first pup from BESHS and have supported the organization since then. The Humane Society does admirable work with very limited resources. The work is hard and the cause is great. We need to support this organization through their rebuilding phase.
I worked for Berkeley Humane for a year before volunteering for nine years. I have been Executive Director since May 2012. I am exceptionally proud of our team and their outstanding work for the animals and people in our community, and I am thrilled about our bright future. Last year, we increased adoptions by 12.5%; this year we are on track to find loving, committed adopters for 1,000 deserving dogs and cats.
The fire of May 2010 was a tragedy, but we immediately bounced back with the quick outpouring of support from our community. Admittedly, it was a significant challenge to continue operations in one-fifth of our 100-year-old building—about 80% of it was damaged or deemed uninhabitable. Laundry had to be outsourced because our laundry room was unusable, and our Administrative staff had to be relocated to a separate building from the Adoption Center—again, because our offices were damaged.
Many post-fire challenges were unforeseen. You can't know everything that lies ahead after such a devastating event until you experience it firsthand. Simply rebuilding in a year, as many people expected, is not possible. And the inequity of one group having to work in a cramped and antiquated building while the other is a block away in a more spacious environment takes its toll. But we've done a fantastic job of moving through it.
We worked with an amazing volunteer to remodel much of our Adoption Center, at very low cost, to make it more open and comfortable. We invested in commercial laundry machines—a 70-year-old incinerator was removed from our warehouse, at no cost, to make room—so we can once again do our own laundry on site. The investment will pay off within a year because of the absence of monthly laundry expense. We also invested in a state-of-the-art mobile adoption vehicle that will allow us to find homes for more animals every year, have a greater presence in our community, and continue adoptions when we no longer have a bricks and mortar shelter. And we partnered with shelter medicine experts (the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Group) and local architects to design a new Adoption Center that will provide top-notch space for our animals, community, and volunteers.
We have literally brought Berkeley Humane back from the ashes with the help of increased donations from kind and generous supporters and careful strategic planning to ensure that the organization is around for generations to come. This means that tough, sometimes unpopular decisions have been made for the sake of sustainability. But we have emerged from somewhat difficult times into a new era of service to our community.
I have certainly learned a lot about creating a successful and dynamic team in the past 28 months. It is not easy, and it takes time. But when the right people come together with shared passion, vision, understanding, commitment, maturity, positivity, motivation, and values, there is no limit to what they can achieve.
Just over a week ago, I got an email from a Hospital team member, who said: "Our team is truly pulled together now." She went on to say that she and her co-workers had accomplished 11 surgeries that day "with a level of medical proficiency, patiently administered training, and client/patient care that I am extremely proud to be a part of. Huge shout out to my colleagues. You rock!!!"
The tide has turned. Our boat has risen. And we have set sail toward a very bright future, indeed. Please stay the course with us. Together, we will achieve even more for animals and people in need.
While their mission is admirable, this organization falls severely short.
I adopted a German Shepherd mix in 2003 from the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society after joining the organization as a volunteer. As a volunteer, I felt the organization did a great job of training and supervising my work and the other volunteers. The passion of the staff for their work was evident through their attitudes and practices, and the animals seemed very well cared for. The adoption experience was very thorough, and I appreciated the attention the organization paid to making sure the animal would be adopted into a stable, long-term home. On a personal note, I am grateful that this organization was able to see something special in my dog and provide her with the care and support she needed to become a member of a family. We love her dearly.