Humane Society expands building in honor of Lauren McCluskey

Additions include cat visitation room, modernized kennels



Whitman County Humane Society hosted a private donor opening for the new cat wing on Sunday. The new additions include modernized kennels and a visiting room where people can play and interact with the cats before deciding to adopt.

CAMERON SHEPPARD, Evergreen reporter

The Whitman County Humane Society celebrated the opening of the Lauren McCluskey Cat Wing at Animal Haven, named in honor of the late Pullman track star.

Wendy Ortman, a board member for the WCHS, said the building upgrade was fully funded from donations, most of which were raised through the Lauren McCluskey Foundation.

Lauren McCluskey used to volunteer at Animal Haven as a Pullman High School student before she became a student-athlete at the University of Utah.

“She was always particularly partial to the cats,” Ortman said.

McCluskey was killed in Utah by an alleged ex-boyfriend in October last year.

The McCluskey family encouraged people to donate to help build the new addition to Animal Haven in her memory, Ortman said.

Kylene Daschofsky, chair of the building committee on this project, said the board of directors knew it was time for an upgrade to the cat wing, but they initially did not have the funds.

She said the shelter felt cramped and claustrophobic, both for the staff members and the potential animal adopters. She said the staff had to resort to stacking cat kennels in the bathroom because of the lack of space for the animals elsewhere.

“There was no place for someone to spend quality time with a cat before adopting,” Daschofsky said.

Now the building has been outfitted with modernized kennels and a visiting room where potential adopters can visit and play with the cats.

Ortman said the upgrade has effectively doubled the space and capacity within the building.

WCHS hosted some open house events to welcome people to the new facility. Ortman said visitors adopted at least eight cats over the weekend.

Daschofsky said the upgrade will help make the adoption process easier and less stressful.

“That would not have happened without Lauren McCluskey,” she said.