Local Humane Society director gives all to help animals

Nathan Loe

For Jenn Petermann, director of the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, animal care is a way of life. With two cats and four dogs of her own, every minute of her day is accompanied by furry faces and wagging tails.

Jenn Petermann gets thanked by a customer

Jenn Peterman gets thanked by a customer

Located on McElroy Drive over by the Oxford airport, the Humane Society shelters up to 180 animals on site at any given time.

This is not a 9-5 job. Even though, there are endless tasks in the care of the animals, like feeding, medical care, exercise, paperwork, and dishes, Petermann said the real indicator of daily progress is the washing machine.

“The washing machines start at about 6:30 a.m. and get turned off at about 7 p.m.,” she said. “So that’s kind of the way you can gauge the day of how long we are here and working.”

Pulling from a 10-county radius, Petermann can expect anywhere between 5,500 and 5,600 animals cycling in and out per year. As an open door facility, whatever shows up, they take in. This includes strays and the boarding of some local animals.

With a full-time animal control officer on the pay roll, this also means going out on calls in the city limits to get animals. There are always more coming in.

Jenn oversees up to 5,600 animals per year

Jenn oversees up to 5,600 animals per year

Petermann oversees all of these tasks seven days a week, but  nonprofit organization volunteers are essential to keep the shelter up and running.

With a walk-in policy, volunteering is a simple process. All that’s required is a simple one-page form, and you can start helping right away. Lots of help is needed with the day-to-day tasks (laundry, dishes, baths) but Petermann said a little bit of love goes a long way.

“Just giving up 10-15 minutes a day to take one of the dogs out to the park is immensely helpful,” she said. “It’s great for the dogs to have the chance to go out and be dogs for a while.”

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Shelter volunteer Anthony Branch has had a great experience so far.

“I mean, so far, so good,” he said. “I love working with dogs, and Mrs. Petermann is always trying to help me out. You can tell she really cares about every animal here.”

Most of the money that supports the shelter comes though fundraising. The Humane Society has several events coming up that everyone can participate in.

Barktoberfest 2014 will be held at 5 p.m. Oct. 13 in Oxford at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. It will feature a regional beer tasting, a Halloween dog costume contest, and Monday night football. Barktoberfest is an annual event that is open to all ages.

The Bark after Dark Fun Run will be held Oct. 22. This will take place on campus and is free to all. With local businesses providing food and drinks, and campus organizations including Greek life, providing music and glow-in-the-dark paint, it should be a night to remember.

For more information about the Humane Society, visit

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