A $10,000 grant from the Petco Foundation will nearly double the program funding of the Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County for 2016 and help to rescue “last chance” animals, said Humane Society Past President Kania Greer, who wrote the grant application.
The grant announced this week is the first the local Humane Society ever has received from the Petco Foundation, although the organization has applied for grants at various funding amounts the past three years, Greer said.
“It’s actually just supplementing our normal donation funding,” Greer said. “We still are going to rely so heavily on donations because this is only a one-year program. In effect, though, it’s going to allow us to double or triple the number of animals that we can take into rescue.”
The Humane Society applied for up to $20,000 with the idea of splitting that amount between its animal rescue and spay-neuter programs. But Greer said volunteers are very pleased with the $10,000 award and will now direct most of it toward rescuing “last chance” animals at the Bulloch County Animal Shelter, with a smaller portion going to the public spay-neuter program.
Last chance pets
A separate category from the pets taken directly into foster care by Humane Society volunteers, last chance pets are those scheduled for euthanasia by the county animal shelter.
“We can spend this money to pay for transport cost or to vet the animals so that no animal is getting euthanized, we’re finding potential homes for them,” Greer said.
When no local homes are found for these animals, Humane Society volunteers seek to transport them to no-kill shelters in Atlanta or elsewhere. Vaccinations and other veterinary care are required for the animals to be legally adopted.
Most of the Humane Society’s regular budget comes from local fundraising efforts, including the summer Silent Auction, the fall Raise the Woof comedy event, and proceeds from its thrift store, ReTails. The total donated varies from year to year but is often around $10,000 to $12,000, sometimes more, she said.
The Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County has been in existence since 1981. In 2015 alone, its volunteers have found homes, the society reports, for almost 500 cats and dogs and helped close to 600 people in the community spay and neuter their pets.
A “clear the shelter” effort the Humane Society conducted in cooperation with the Bulloch County Animal Shelter also allowed 32 more animals to find homes, Greer reported.
The Humane Society is a nonprofit corporation operated by volunteers. But the county government operates the animal shelter, which regularly euthanizes sick and unclaimed stray dogs and cats. A recent drive to have the Bulloch County Animal Shelter become a no-kill shelter was launched by individual citizens and not by the Humane Society, but the Humane Society now supports that effort, according to Greer.
“We didn’t start the efforts to do that, but we would love to see a no-kill shelter and we support the efforts entirely,” she said. “That’s why we want to work with the county shelter, using this money to place more animals and help them become a no-kill shelter.”
Since 1999, the Petco Foundation has provided more than $135 million for animal welfare work. Working with animal welfare groups and Petco stores across the country, the foundation has helped find homes for more than 4.2 million pets, it states on its website, petcofoundation.org.
The Humane Society of Statesboro and Bulloch County works closely with the Petco store at Statesboro Crossing. The cat habitat with adoptable felines near the front of the store is maintained by society volunteers. The society also hosts dog adoptions there the store the first and third Saturday of each month, including this Saturday.
Now, when the Petco store asks customers to donate their change to the foundation, they will also be donating to an organization that directly supports the local Humane Society’s efforts, Greer observed.
Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.