Who We Are


The Bitter Root Humane Association was formed in 1972 by a group of local animal lovers. At that time they built a shelter on Adirondac Street in Hamilton. In December of 1982 the City of Hamilton took over the property for a septic treatment plant. Without the necessary funds to relocate, the shelter was forced to close. Homes were found for the remaining animals and the shelter was dismantled.

A new Board was chosen in 1983 and in 1984, Countess Margarite Bessenyey came to the rescue and gave the group land on Fairgrounds Road with a ninety-nine year lease. Six years later, in 1990 the Bessenyey Estate deeded the land to the Bitter Root Humane Association.

Betty Cook, as President in 1984, led the volunteers in raising money for the shelter. They did everything from holding dances to bake sales and raffles. Even without a shelter, they did the best they could and placed many stray animals and answered cruelty calls. By January of 1985, they had enough money (approximately $100,000.00) to put out for bids to build their shelter and building began in May 1985. That building is the current shelter facility at 262 Fairgrounds Road.

We thank the founders of the Association and the volunteers that worked so hard and were so dedicated to the cause to get this far. As with all things in time, the Association has outgrown its current space and is again looking to move and expand.

If you have information about a possible property or would like to contribute to this fund, please contact us. Thanks!


Our mission is to provide caring, compassionate shelter and enrichment for homeless companion animals, find loving lifelong homes, reunite pets and owners, promote population control and advocate for all animals.

2016 Video

Click on one of the links below to watch our wonderful new PSA put together courtesy of Caleb Hallhan and Wyatt Campbell with technical equipment assistance from the great folks at MAPS.


Bitter Root Humane Association


Maps Video