A group of animal loving, local Samaritans, started what is now known as Elmbrook Humane Society in the years before 1964. In an old bus, they would take in, house and care for stray animals — this was known as the “Dog Pound”. With no heat or running water, the need for a shelter building was necessary. In October of 1964, EBHS was officially incorporated by Gertrude Bergman, along with Myrna Mavroff, and 3 other animal loving individuals who met at the police station to formalize the organization.
After many attempts, the city of Brookfield finally granted them a ¼ acre lot for the first shelter off Barker Road. It is here that the first shelter was built in 1968 – a one car garage with attached kennels on both sides. This one room shelter housed a desk for volunteers, a meal preparation area, supplies, laundry, and cats. While the space was small, morale was high because of the family type atmosphere and deep dedication of volunteers. 3 years later, the city informed us we had to move to due future plans for an industrial park and we were assigned a new location off Enterprise Avenue. Through the hard work of volunteers sewing and selling stuffed animals, making crafts, hosting rummage sales, and participating in fairs, the funds were raised to start building our new shelter.
The new building, located at 21210 Enterprise Avenue was completed in December 1976. We resided in this building for 28 years, adding additional kennels in the late 70’s to accommodate our growing animal population and to create better separated spaces between species. As our community continued to grow, so did the need for our services. As a result, we purchased and renovated our current building at 20950 Enterprise Avenue, in 2004. In December of this same year, EBHS was recognized by the Mayor for the many years of service and dedication our organization has provided our community and deemed December 4th as “Elmbrook Humane Society Day”.
Updates have been made to our current building over the years including building fully covered outdoor dog kennels, new cat and small animal housing, and replacing equipment. In 2023, we underwent a shelter renovation to better meet the needs of our growing programs and staff team and to decrease stress for the animals by moving our adoption floor around to allow each dog to have their own suite, to house adoptable cat condos in one central space and move our small animals to a quieter area in the shelter– decreasing noise and stress for all. We also added a dental suite to our medical area to allow our shelter vet to perform dental procedures in house. We are excited to continue to serve our great community and be the preferred resource for their animal related needs.
Thousands of dedicated and caring individuals have paved the way for EBHS to become what it is today. We wouldn’t be who we are today without the leadership of our Executive Directors:
1967 – 1978 Jane Schmitz
1978 – 1993 Patti Muraczewski
1993 – 1997 Angie Rester
1997 – 2005 Diane Horlamus
2005 – 2008 Holly Houston
2008 2013 Karen Sparapani
2013 – 2021 Heather Gehrke
2021 – Present Natalie Hoskins