2299 235th St., Oskaloosa, IA 52577
The mission of the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter is to serve as a community resource for pets and people, dedicated to enhancing the welfare of all companion animals
The Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter (SMAS) is a smaller animal shelter located in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Built in 1991, the original facility's sole purpose was to serve as a "pound" for stray animals in Mahaska County. As with most animal impound facilities, animals that were not adopted or claimed after 7 days were euthanized. Since then, the SMAS has evolved beyond the old "pound" ideology.
In 2011, the SMAS stopped euthanizing animals for space and started looking for alternatives to euthanasia. Through partnerships with other shelters and breed rescues, as well as programs aimed at increasing the adoptability of the animals in their care, the SMAS went from a dismal live release rate of 40% (meaning 40% of the animals taken in leave the shelter alive) to a live release rate of 93%. In may of 2014, we celebrated our first month of a 100% live release rate, a milestone we are very proud of.
The SMAS is NOT a no-kill shelter, and we accept any animal for any reason regardless of their temperament or health. Despite this, we are still able to maintain a euthanasia rate of less than 8%.
In addition to taking in and rehoming stray, abandoned, abused, and otherwise homeless animals, the SMAS, in partnership with the Mahaska Humane Society, has developed programming aimed to educate the community and promoting responsible pet ownership. Some of these programs include visits to the elementary school to teach dog bite prevention, brining dogs to the local university during finals week as stress relief for students, visiting nursing home and retirement facilities for "pet therapy", and helping low-income residents of Mahaska County get their pet spayed/neutered through our "Spay the County" program.
The Mahaska Humane Society (MHS) is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization that started in 1972, well before the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter was around. Their mission was and still is to establish and maintain a facility (the SMAS) to house lost, abandoned, and stray animals, reunite owners with lost pets, find homes for abandoned pets, stop animal abuse, and educate the public about responsible pet ownership. Through their flagship "Spay the County" program, the SMAS and MHS are able to help low income residents of Mahaska County get their pets spayed/neutered.
The MHS serves as the non-profit arm of the SMAS and is responsible for coordinating with the SMAS to develop and maintain their community outreach programs.
In addition to making a yearly contribution towards the operating costs of the SMAS, the MHS also holds two major annual fundraisers for the SMAS. All proceeds from these fundraisers go straight to the SMAS to help them care for the animals.
The MHS meets monthly to discuss shelter operations, coordinate fundraising, and share ideas on how the SMAS can continue to evolve to help the homeless animals of Mahaska County and educate the community. The MHS is always accepting new members and encourages anybody who is interested in becoming a member to attend a meeting and see what they are all about. For more information on becoming a member of the MHS, please contact the SMAS!