Merger Creates Nation’s Largest Animal Shelter

Two DC-Area organizations join forces to house and help more animals than ever before.

The Washington Humane Society (WHS) and the Washington Animal Rescue League (WARL) have merged into a single entity, making it the largest animal shelter in United States history. The new group (yet to be named) has a $14.5-million annual budget and combined capacity to care for 62,000 animals at a time. The two groups could appear different on the surface (for example, WHS’s shelter is comprised of chain-link cages lining concrete floors, while WARL’s spa-like space features calming music and glass-walled habitats), but they share a common mission of saving and adopting out animals. Lisa LaFontaine, head of the new organization, said the merger is beneficial because “every individual program that humane societies and shelters can have—adoption, medical care, training, wildlife services, and more—we have all of them.” Both WHS and WARL have been able to save approximately 90 percent of their animals, and by combining forces they might be able to raise that number even higher.

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