Bidding on items from pet treats to handmade benches and weekends at St. Simons, participants in the 12th Annual Silent Auction can enjoy themselves while helping the Humane Society carry on its mission to rescue animals and control their population.
It’s always billed as the Silent Auction because most of the hundreds of items are auctioned that way, with offers written on paper. But the 6-8 p.m. event Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Church also features a 7 p.m. live auction of some major items, with Jack Orman slated to repeat as the leisurely paced, conversational auctioneer.
“We’ve got a lot of good items to bid on out there, and we just want people to come and have a good time and learn a little bit about what we do and support our efforts for the animals of Bulloch County,” said Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County President Kania Greer.
Thanks to a $15 admission fee, those also give who look without buying. All who enter will be treated to music by Dr. Michael Braz at the keyboard and to heavy hors d’oeuvre and beverages.
All the auction items have been donated, mostly by local businesses.
Besides gift certificates to restaurants and retailers, Greer mentioned Coach purses, homemade benches and jewelry as lots up for bid. Georgia Southern University President Dr. Brooks Keel and his wife reportedly have donated eight bottles of connoisseur-quality wines to be auctioned.
Direct monetary donations, large and small, are also accepted. With “Feed the Kitty for a Kitty,” donors will drop money into a change jar to help with one particular feline’s veterinary bills.
When the kitten, named Buffy prior to adoption, was rescued by Humane Society volunteers, his tail had been nearly ripped off. He required three surgeries and treatment for a postsurgical infection, Greer reports.
“He now has no tail, but he is a great member of his new family,” she said.
The Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County does not operate an animal shelter. The Bulloch County Animal Shelter, operated by the county from tax revenue, is a separate entity. It euthanizes many unclaimed animals, but works with the Humane Society on “last chance” adoptions.
Instead, the Humane Society is a nonprofit organization with about 60 members. Most pay $15 annual dues. Student members pay $10. About 40 member households currently foster rescued animals, Greer said.
The organization covers veterinary bills for the dogs and cats in foster care. It also pays for their food and any medications, for cat litter and other supplies.
“We pay for all of that while they’re in foster care until they get adopted, which involves bringing animals in, getting them fully vetted, fully spayed and neutered,” Greer said.
Additionally, the society applies money it raises to spaying and neutering programs for pet owners.
The Humane Society of Statesboro & Bulloch County works with the Spay/Neuter Alliance and Clinic, or SNAC, based in Ridgeland, S.C., to provide a transport service for reduced-cost pet birth control surgeries. The society also funds a “$20 Fix” voucher program. It provides the service at that deeply discounted price for animal owners who have low incomes or are full-time college students living away from their parents.
“We helped more over 400 community people last year alone spay and neuter their pets at a discounted rate,” Greer said.
In fact, the group issued 537 spay/neuter vouchers in 2013. But that doesn’t mean that all the vouchers were used, said Debbie Kruk, a Humane Society volunteer who was last year’s treasurer and still helps with recordkeeping.
Some other statistics: Last year, the society had 159 cats and 114 dogs adopted, for a total of 273 local adoptions. It also sent 40 animals to other states and received 29 animals into foster care from the Bulloch County Animal Shelter.
Most months, the Statesboro-Bulloch group also pays to transfer some animals, mostly small dogs, puppies and kittens, to the Atlanta Humane Society, which operates two no-kill shelters, Kruk said.
From rescued animals, 30 puppies, 13 kittens and one adult dog were transferred last year. Additionally, 62 kittens and 31 puppies were placed with the Atlanta shelters direct from homes in Bulloch County.
The Humane Society operates a thrift store, ReTails on North College Street, which provides some revenue throughout the year. But the Silent Auction remains the group’s largest fundraising event.
Last year’s, attended by about 155 people, raised about $8,800. Greer would like to exceed that.
“I would love to bring in $10,000 to $15,000 minimum and, you know, upset our goal from last year,” she said.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9454.