Published March 2024

Recently, a lot of misinformation about the Lemhi County Humane Society (LCHS) has circulated in the community. Some of this stems from a misunderstanding of 501(c)(3) non-profits and what they do. We are not, for example, responsible for providing Salmon with an animal control officer. That is a city matter.  

Our mission is to provide high quality sheltering for companion animals in Lemhi County. We fund this effort with income from our thrift store (Rags & Wags), along with donations, and grant writing. This funding allows us to do the good work we have done for the past 47 years.

The LCHS is not a government entity. Its board members are citizens who volunteer their free time. We spend countless hours volunteering at Salmon Animal Shelter and Rags & Wags, alongside other dedicated volunteers and employees. We research and write grant proposals, investigate reports of animal abuse and neglect, walk dogs at the shelter, foster small kittens at home, wash clothing and household items at the store, and sit at the store’s checkout desk. We have always welcomed members of the community to volunteer their time at the shelter or store.

We have a fiduciary responsibility to oversee the finances of the organization and ensure that funds are appropriately handled. We are proud that several years ago we underwent a full audit by the IRS and passed with flying colors. Our income has been invested wisely and responsibly, ensuring that the shelter can continue to operate even if the thrift store becomes inoperable – as it did for several weeks in 2020.

A small percentage of our funding comes from the city and county, because we serve as the local impound facility – for dogs under quarantine, or whose owners are jailed, or are picked up by law enforcement as strays.  

Running both a shelter and a store requires a large budget. We pay our employees, pay utility bills, and provide food, shelter, exercise and veterinary care for hundreds of animals every year. Add to that advertising, insurance, repairs and maintenance, and it’s an expensive proposition.

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit, we are not required to open our meetings to the public, or to provide anyone with financial information, beyond our Form 990s, which are filed with the IRS each year and are available online at Guidestar and CauseIQ.

Over the years, we have made many improvements and additions to the shelter. We recently completed the Ken Hill Kitten Cabin to separately house momma cats and their kittens, thanks to the estate of City Councilman and LCHS Board Member Ken Hill, grants from two other foundations, and generous donations from others.  

Beyond the shelter itself, we fund public spay and neuter programs for pets and feral cats, and make donated pet food available to those in need.  

In 2010, we were able to purchase the Odd Fellows Building, which enabled us to expand Rags & Wags and provide a home for the Odd Fellows Bakery. Preserving and using this large historic building has been wonderful for downtown Salmon, and upstairs the High School Drama Club and others make use of the small theater. This continues the Odd Fellows tradition of serving the community.

Rags & Wags thrift store is also a resource for those who have lost a home to fire or flood, for children taken in through Child Protective Services (CPS) who need clothing or school supplies, and for anyone in dire need.  

We cannot discuss details of personnel matters with the public, which puts us at a disadvantage in the face of accusations and demands. We take allegations about mistreatment of animals or unprofessional behavior by employees very seriously. We investigate these and take action to correct the situation. But we cannot possibly move as fast as gossip or social media, since we are constrained by procedure and the need to keep the shelter staffed at all times. We appreciate the support of our community, and look forward to continuing to support the animals of Lemhi County as we strive to meet our mission and provide safety and housing to homeless pets. Thank you to all who support our work and assist in it. We are grateful for such a supportive community. For more information about the work we do or to volunteer, check out this new website ( (soon with board member names and information) or call the Salmon Animal Shelter or Rags & Wags.