HED:Humane Society fund-raiser to mark 20th year

CATEGORY: Charities

AUTHOR: EILEEN

HED:Humane Society fund-raiser to mark 20th year

By Eileen Bailey

Daily Journal

Tupelo-Lee Humane Society leaders have 20/20 vision when it comes to celebrating their 20th year in existence.

With that clear vision, they hope to raise $20,000 by mid-November.

Terry Abernethy, Humane Society president, said the group would like to raise $1,000 for each year it has provided shelter for abused and neglected animals.

The effort will be called the 20/20 Campaign, and donations are being sought from individuals, civic organizations and corporate sponsors.

Animals by the hundreds

The South Gloster Street shelter, which will celebrate two decades of service Dec. 10, takes cares of 320 animals and adopts 115 in an average month.

“With an approximate 40 percent adoption rate, we are well ahead of the national average, which hovers around 12 percent,” Abernethy said.

Money raised during the next six months will be used for the general operation of the shelter, he said.

Ruth Shelton, a founding member of the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society, said the shelter got its start in her home. She and her husband approached the city to get its support for providing a shelter.

In the years since then, Shelton said the shelter has grown to offer not only a place for the animals but additional services.

The current shelter, she said, is able to offer care to more animals, especially those that have been abused.

“We also are able to have veterinary care at the shelter,” Shelton said.

The veterinary care is for animals in the shelter only and not for the pets of private individuals. But that care provides medical services to ill dogs, shots to well animals and a spaying and neutering program.

Every adult animal adopted from the shelter is spayed or neutered. Puppies and kittens not old enough for surgery at the time of adoption are required to be brought back at the appropriate age.

The shelter spayed or neutered more than 1,100 animals in 1998.

Down to the bone

Abernethy said the daily costs of feeding, medicating and caring for the animals make up all of the shelter’s budget.

The shelter’s board of directors has reduced operating costs despite being forced to fund some monthly food costs and having to pay for utilities, he said.

But the needs are great.

“Short of ending crucial programs, such as our spay-neuter campaign, we are cut to the bone,” Abernethy said.

That’s where the donations come in.

Donations of $250 or more will be recognized on a permanent plaque in the shelter’s lobby. Donors who contributed $1,000 or more will be in the “Top Dawg” club, donations from $500 to $999 will be placed in the “Puppy Love” club, and donations from $250 to $499 will be a part of the”Cuddly Kitten” club.