For nearly two decades, Brian Weltge has been saving lives at the Humane Society of Greater Dayton.
Weltge, who became the president and CEO of the organization in 2003, served as the shelter manager for three years prior.
We caught up with our Daytonian of the Week to find out more about his organization and what the community can do to help animals.
The Humane Society of Greater Dayton is the area’s longest-serving agency aiding animals. What do you want the community to know about the organization that they may not realize?
I would like for people to know that we are a private, nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) organization that helps all types of animals in our community. That essentially means that we are funded only by individual donations, corporate donations, grants and foundations. We are not tax supported, and we are not part of any larger organization, including the national Humane Society.
We have been a no-kill shelter for almost a decade, from 2010, and we save lives locally every day. We have Humane Agents (“animal cops”) on staff and they investigate reports of animal cruelty or neglect in our area toward all types of animals. We are this community’s local Humane Society.
We need the community’s help:
• For donations
• For volunteering
•To be our eyes and ears in the community
•To help us find homes for homeless pets
• To help us spread the word of our mission
Your organization states you are “believers in animal dignity, value and justice.” What does this mean to you and why is it important?
We believe that all animals (companion animals, farm animals, exotic animals, & wildlife, etc.) should be valued and treated with dignity and respect. Whether they are companion animals that we love who may sleep on our beds or animals that provide some other value to people (such as farm animals), treating animals with respect and valuing them is an important baseline.
We believe in the five freedoms for animals (from ASPCApro website). Which include:
1. Freedom from hunger and thirst – by providing easy access to fresh water and nourishing food
2. Freedom from discomfort – by providing shelter and comfort for them to easily rest
3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease – by providing them with preventative care, medical care and treatment
4. Freedom to express normal behavior – by providing space and proper facilities and environment for the animal
5. Freedom from fear and distress – by ensuring conditions to avoid mental suffering
In your opinion, what’s the number one thing people could do to aid animals?
Our community has a significant pet overpopulation problem. By making sure we all spay or neuter the pets in our lives we are creating a solution to this issue. If your pets are already spayed or neutered, lending support to groups such as the Humane Society of Greater Dayton can help “spay-it-forward” so that those animals that are unowned can also be spayed or neutered in our community, which ultimately benefits everyone.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you make happen?
• Stop cruelty, neglect and the suffering of animals
• Stop needless breeding of companion animals… cats and dogs
What inspires you about your organization?
That we have kind, compassionate and caring staff, volunteers and supporters who want to see the best outcomes for all of the animals in our community.
What do you see in the Humane Society of Dayton’s future?
•A full-service animal hospital to serve the underserved in our community
• A high-volume spay/neuter clinic to help people spay and neuter community cats or their own pets
• A Cruelty/Neglect rehabilitation center to help us rehabilitate animals that are victims of cruel or neglectful circumstances. Once rehabilitated, we can find them loving homes.
• Community relations, education and adoption center to create an amazing space where people can come to socialize, learn, play and interact with pets in need of love and in need of homes.
What inspires you about Dayton?
I grew up in Dayton and have always been inspired by the amazing community. We have a diverse population that thrives on innovation and has a spirit of hope. We are all inspired every day with all of the wonderful things going on in our community and are energized to be part of this growth.
What's your guilty pleasure?
I love to scuba dive. I have been diving for more than 30 years, and I hope to get my children to love this amazing activity as much as I do.
Early on the organization sponsored a pet parade. According to the Dayton Daily News the 1924 parade had “more than 1,500 pets with ‘devoted boys and girls,’ lined up for the march…” Would you consider bringing this idea back?! (Please!!)
Absolutely, we love parades and are well aware of the 1924 parade. Maybe we can have a revival of the Humane Society’s annual Pet Parade in Downtown Dayton and maybe it can be sponsored by the Dayton Daily News!