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Even during COVID-19, the staff and volunteers at Columbia Humane Society are continuing their work, even though operations have been modified.


Meet Hagrid. This is one of many kittens at the Columbia Humane Society awaiting adoption into a loving home.

So far this year, the animal shelter, located at 2084 Oregon St. in St. Helens,  has adopted out 60 animals and 10 animals have adoption pending, waiting to get either spayed or neutered, according to Columbia Humane Society executive director Lisa Beggio.

The animal shelter has also launched a new program this year, called the Queen Program which helps with the overpopulation of stray cats in St. Helens, according to Beggio.

“With this program, in exchange for your kittens, we will get your Momma cats fixed, vaccinated, treated for fleas and wormed and microchipped for free,” Beggio said. “All you need to be willing to do is to hand over your kittens.”

Participants are asked to keep the momma cat and her kittens for about eight weeks, and then relinquish the kitten to the shelter. According to Beggio, the shelter will assure that the kittens are altered and vaccinated and then placed in appropriate homes.

“In exchange for the kittens, we will pay to have the mom cats altered, vaccinated, treated for fleas and wormed, and microchipped for free,” Beggio said.

The overall goal of the shelter has not changed since the beginning of the pandemic, with the center still focusing on trying to find homeless animals with the right homes. However, some ways that the shelter carries out operations have changed. The shelter is not currently allowing any volunteers to come into the shelter because the facility does not have any ability to social distance, according to Beggio.

When volunteers were allowed to work at the shelter, they would be allowed to schedule their own times to come in, and partake in different activities with the animals, like walking dogs, working in the cattery, or doing anything else the shelter needed, Beggio said.

But all that is over now, and the staff have been taking care of all needed tasks.

The shelter is also not open for the general public to walk in. All adoptions are by appointment.

“Families are asked to get an application in for the animal they are interested in and then we will schedule a time for them to come in and meet the pet they are interested in,” Beggio said.

All animals that are available for adoption are on the shelter’s website at If there is a particular animal they are interested in meeting, the interested family or individual must submit an application, and upon approval of the application, the shelter schedules a time for them to come in and meet privately the pet that they are interested in meeting.

“With the cats, they can be viewed at the appointment time, however with the dogs, the process is specific to each dog. We don’t allow the public to walk through our kennels, as it creates kennel stress which in turn leads to animals being stressed out in their own home environment,” Beggio said.

The shelter has been able to do a lot of fundraising through Facebook, and Beggio estimates the amount is approximately $10,000. This was something the shelter had to do in lieu of holding in-person fundraisers, which they had been planning this year, Beggio said.

24 animals reside at the shelter now. Three employees work at the shelter, which hasn’t changed due to the pandemic, according to Beggio.

In general, the goal of the shelter has not changed.

“We feel that the animals of Columbia County need to have a voice and we are trying to be the voice of those animals,” Beggio said. “We are trying to help and protect the people and animals of Columbia County.”

How to apply to adopt

Applications available for adopting animals at

For more information, call the Columbia Human Society at 503-397-4353. The facility is located at 2084 Oregon Street. Appointments are necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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