Over the past four years, the Ashe County Humane Society has made great strides in its effort to build a licensed animal care facility in the county. In just this year of change, we have moved into a permanent facility, expanded our adoption and spay/neuter programs, coordinated several major fund-raising events, and begun development of an education program and a grants program. As we look to the future, we will need the support of the county and the people who live here to make our dreams come true.
In early 2008, we will be launching grant applications to acquire funding for specific needs, such as dog kennels for our adoption program and startup materials for our education program. In addition, we will be aggressively pursuing ways to acquire enough funding to pay the mortgage on our facility, including our annual fundraisers. Fundraisers scheduled for the rest of 2007 are a Halloween Pet Costume Contest to be held at the Todd General Store on Saturday, Oct. 20 (see accompanying story) and Pictures with Santa to be held at the Humane Society Resource Center on Saturday, Nov. 3 and 17.
The move into a larger facility this year has allowed us to expand our adoption program, which has been of great benefit to the community. On Saturdays, local citizens can bring kittens, puppies and adult animals to the facility for adoption. At that time, we take pictures of the animals to advertise on our website and in the local papers, and open the facility to the public to view animals up for adoption. We have found homes for 187 animals in the last 18 months and our adopters come from many parts of the state. It is best to call before Saturday to let us know you are coming, as our space is limited. We are not able to house animals at the center at this time because we don’t have adequate shelter for dogs and are not staffed 24/7. Therefore, animals not adopted must be picked up by their owners by 3 p.m. They may be brought back to the center every Saturday until they are adopted.
Our spay/neuter program has also provided a great service to the community this year. Each month, we have undertaken a spay/neuter clinic for our adopted pets in collaboration with Twin Oaks Veterinary Hospital in Sparta. Our last clinic for 2007 will be on Thursday, Oct. 25 since we don’t hold clinics during the winter due to weather restrictions. We have also introduced a spay/neuter voucher program that provides financial assistance and allows local residents to take their pets to three area vets (Dr. Johnson at Animal Hospital of Boone, Dr. Beckworth at Ashe Animal Clinic, and Twin Oaks in Sparta). Pet owners should contact the humane society for details on the voucher process.
Spaying or neutering your pet is the responsible thing to do since it eliminates unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. According to public data, an unspayed female cat and her kittens can produce over 400,000 cats during a 7-year period and an unspayed female dog and her offspring can produce as many as 67,000 puppies in the same time frame. The ACHS has assisted in spay/neuter activities for approximately 300 animals in Ashe County over the past three years. Most of them have been females, which translates to a huge reduction of unwanted animals in our county. We’ll let you do the math.
Since we are a non-profit organization run solely by volunteers, we are always eager for folks in the community to help out. We need volunteers for Saturday adoptions, Tuesday and Friday office hours, as well as for our fundraisers. Saturday volunteers help by greeting adopters, registering new pets, preparing dog kennels and cat crates, walking dogs, keeping kennels/crates clean, playing with the animals, and cleaning up at the end of the day. Weekday volunteers answer the phone, register pets for spay/neuter, register volunteers and work on projects at the center. Please stop by and let us know how you can help our effort.
We have some foster families who take animals into their homes if the owner absolutely can no longer keep them. However, we need more of these dedicated animal lovers. At the moment our foster homes are full. Please contact us if you can help foster abandoned animals. They are always so grateful.
Effective November 2007, the Humane Society board meetings will be held on the first Thursday of the month beginning at 5:30 p.m. We encourage the public to attend the first part of these meetings from 5:30 to 6 p.m. We will discuss upcoming events, new programs and also hope to have guest speakers provide information about safe pet ownership, training guidelines and general animal issues.
Ghandi once said “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” We would like Ashe County to be known as great in this sense and to set a standard for the rest of the state. We are grateful to Ashe County citizens for the support they have given us over the past four years and we look forward to providing a viable animal care facility in the future. Please keep the animals of Ashe County in mind as we begin the “Season of Giving.” All donations and contributions are tax deductible.
Effective Oct. 15, we will change our center hours to Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. for the fall/winter season. We will continue Saturday adoption hours from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. You may visit the center on Tuesday or Friday to register for our spay/neuter clinic, bring donations, sign up as a volunteer or to ask questions. And we check our email and phone messages daily. To contact the Ashe County Humane Society, call us at 336-982-4297 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to your continued support!