HSNEI 2023 Projects: Safer Environment & Enhanced Community Services

HSNEI is pleased to announce the completion of its 2023 projects– creating a safer, fully compliant environment with increased outdoor enrichment time for dogs and expanding services for constituents and law enforcement agencies in its five-county service area.

2023 was a great year of growth at the shelter, which contributed to making life a little better for the animals in our care as well as HSNEI staff members, volunteers, and members of the communities we serve. Throughout 2023, we achieved license-compliant animal housing, increased our capacity of care, designed faster, more effective cleaning procedures, strengthened our public and partner relationships, and created a more efficient lost pet reunification process. Projects included new kennel walls, more outdoor yards (including dividing fences), additional entrance/exits to outdoor yards, repairs, and repurposing of our spaces.

Our completed work provides a safer environment for both staff and animals, adds much-needed storage space, and increases our energy efficiency. We would like to thank our 2023 Project Sponsors who helped make this a reality: The Winneshiek County Community Foundation ($6,000), The MICCIO Foundation ($4,870), and The Depot Outlet ($2,000). Total 2023 project costs were $33,463 ($15,651– HSNEI & project sponsors and $18,001–in-kind materials, labor, cash donations, and private loans).

Project Sponsors

In the last half of 2023, we received 2 large-group surrenders (18 & 13) from dog breeders in addition to our typical intake of 10-12 dogs each month. These dogs require more care and attention, and on average, have a higher cost because of extended care needs and ongoing support. So far, they have all been success stories! Clara is one example. She came to us as a 6-month-old doodle–all dirty and wet, with mats down to the skin. She is blind–most likely from birth with a severe heart murmur. She is still cautious when taking treats from your hand–maybe because she learned to wait until her friends had finished eating so no one bit her. Her assessment and initial treatment took 3 months and cost $1216. Her ongoing medication (for the rest of her life) costs $100 each month plus regular vet checks. Her new mom has a soft spot for special needs animals and was happy to add Clara to her household with her blind, diabetic cat.

Without treatment and ongoing care and medication, Clara would not have survived. Without the completion of these projects, we would not have been able to accept and help either of these larger groups of dogs in addition to the stray animals and pets of people who need our help. “We could barely keep up with the intake of 2 to 3 dogs per week before,” says Ries Magnuson, HSNEI Executive Director. “Now we have housing for strays, dogs from law enforcement, and the larger groups without exceeding our capacity.”

The Humane Society of Northeast Iowa (HSNEI), an independent nonprofit, began operations in Decorah, Iowa in 1995. A volunteer board of directors governs the organization to help dogs, cats, and pet families in need in Northeast Iowa. HSNEI improves quality of life–through quality of care, quality adoption matches, and quality services for pet families and community members.

HSNEI is not affiliated with or funded by any national group and does not receive United Way, city, state, or federal government funding. Funds are raised through donations, bequests, grants, special events, adoptions, services, and merchandise sales. HSNEI is a 501(c)(3) organization.

Foster opportunities at HSNEI


As the weather warms there are many changes occurring at the shelter and new opportunities to get involved with our foster programs. We are working hard to ensure these programs benefit the people and animals in our community, therefore we welcome any feedback you may have about your experience as a volunteer.
Our current opportunities are below:
  • Kitten litters: during the spring and summer we intake numerous litters of kittens. We will supply all necessary supplies and support you as questions arise.
  • Short term dog fosters: We are currently renovating our outdoor space and need temporary housing for some of the dogs that are sensitive to noise. We will work with you to match a dog with your household.
  • Long term dog fosters: The shelter can be a stressful place for some animals, help us find the perfect forever home for a dog in need!
If you are interested in learning more about any of these options please email volunteer@hsnei.org or call 563-419-8948.
Thank you for being part of our volunteer community!