The “dog pound” was a small fenced in area at the city dump where people put unwanted animals.
The city contracted with a local veterinarian who had a kennel on Sturgis Road to control and maintain the unwanted animal population.
Responding to public dissatisfaction with the situation, local dog lovers led by Pearl Brannan contacted communities in surrounding states on how they handled their unwanted animal issues. The American Humane Association of Denver was instrumental in helping her plan her strategy. In May petitions were circulated asking if the community would be interested in having a humane society. The response was overwhelmingly favorable.
A Dog Committee was formed & met with Mayor Baker.
John Marston of the Denver AHA spoke to the group at the mayor’s request. He said, “If you can scrape up $10,000 and property, you’re going.” A planning committee was created, with Lester Brannan as president, Pearl Brannan as secretary, Darleon Fitzgerald as treasurer and Nancy Brady as corresponding secretary.
The new organization was named the Pennington Humane Society, and dues were set at $5 per year.
The flood that ravaged Rapid City took a huge toll on animals as well as humans. The number of animals lost is unknown. Afterward, homeless animals were cared for by people whose homes had been spared. In the aftermath of the flood, there was no interest in the society, as human needs were the first priority.
May 15, 1999:
Grand opening of the present shelter building. Ribbon cutting by Mayor Jim Shaw. Skip Rudge, Executive Director. The program closed with thanks: “The Humane Society of the Black Hills would like to thank all who have helped and supported our cause over the years. Without the support of the private, business and governmental sectors of the community our animal companions would suffer. We would especially like to thank our volunteers who donate their time and labor to make the animals’ lives a little better.”