Humane Society needs your help

Wanda English Burnett

Wrapping up the second phase of a building project at the Ripley County Humane Society is a goal met thanks to the Rising Sun Regional Foundation, according to DeDee Holliday, president of the board of directors at the local animal shelter.

“We are so blessed to have this grant,” Holliday told the Osgood Journal.

On the flip side, grants such as the above mentioned one that allowed the much needed building to house animals in, cannot be used for day-to-day operating costs. Those costs come solely from donations, which are down drastically.

Holliday attributes the slowdown to practically no donations to the sluggish economy. She said the no-kill shelter has been hit hard during this time. People have lost their homes and left pets behind, or simply could no longer care for their pets. “It’s been real tough,” Holliday noted.

Those operating the shelter have done everything they could to manage the donations as efficiently as possible. They have built a caretaker home on the property, which generated some revenue for the shelter. However, when the previous tenant moved, they left the home in bad shape. “We had to fix it, just to rent it again,” Holliday said.

The shelter’s van for animal transport recently broke down and could not be repaired, leaving them with the expense of getting another one.

“We’ve been thrifty, even creative,” noted Holliday, talking about shopping for the best deal possible for a vehicle.

Also, thanks to a handful of volunteers, they’ve been able to fix the rental house and eek by at the shelter.

Staff cuts have been initiated, leaving only a skeleton crew left to operate the shelter. Those who receive pay, get a minimal amount, but most helping are strictly volunteer.
“We have three people who give on a monthly basis,” Holliday told the Osgood Journal.

That’s it. Three people who bring the needed supplies such as kitty litter, towels, bleach, Pinesol, shampoo, Dawn dish soap, toys, chewy treats, and canned dog and cat food.
“We can’t go on this way,” Holliday noted. Her love for the animals taken in at the shelter is apparent. Tears streamed down her face as she told the Osgood Journal she knows there are kind hearted people in Ripley County who will respond to their need. “We’ve got good people here,” she noted.

The facility is presently at full capacity, according to Irish Stockard of Versailles, who is a stalwart supporter. “She goes above and beyond,” Holliday noted, in reference to Stockard.

Stockard commented, “It’s hard for many people to imagine what the community would be like without the shelter. With the shelter taking the large number of animals off the streets of Ripley County every year - preventing them from breeding and multiplying, people don’t see a problem.”

Stockard is passionate about the service the shelter provides because she sees the results each time she volunteers there - which is on a regular basis.

During difficult financial times such as the shelter now faces, the board members and volunteers have donated their own time and financial resources to keep the operation going.

While Holliday is forever grateful for those people, she knows the daily operation of a facility of this magnitude cannot be carried by this small, nearly tapped out, group.
“If everyone in the county just gave a dollar,” Holliday pleaded, “it would help so much.” She said no donation is too small and can come in the form of money, supplies or volunteer help.

The shelter is not funded by the county. It has no guaranteed money flowing into its coffers - just the generosity of the people who it serves.

All money taken in for adoption fees is absorbed by veterinary bills to in turn get the animals ready for adoptions. This means when you pick up your new pet from them, it has been spayed or neutered, has all its current shots, been thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian and has a microchip implanted.

“So many people feel that they cannot give much therefore their donation won’t count much. That’s just not true,” Stockard noted. She said with the extraordinary operating shortfalls at the shelter, every dollar counts.

She encouraged people to not think someone else will take care of it, but to help out yourself.

Jan Barnes, board member and volunteer, noted the shelter has come a long way under the present leadership. She is proud of their efforts and sees the daily struggle of helping the helpless animals who are often left to fend for themselves.

Barnes is proud of the no-kill shelter and says it cannot be compared to the government run kill shelters. It also saves Ripley County taxpayers a lot of money, since it isn’t operated by the county government.

The duties performed by a few people benefit the county as a whole as these dedicated volunteers and minimally paid staff carry out their duties day in and day out.
There are no breaks from taking care of the animals. They are fed and watered and interacted with daily.

For those looking at adoptions - now is the time. The shelter has a wide variety of friendly faces just waiting for a loving family to take them in.

For more information you can visit the shelter at 1202 W. CR 150 N, Osgood. It is located off US 421 between Versailles and Osgood. You can send donations to the above address as well.

Remember, if everyone did something, it would lighten the load and keep a much needed service operating smoothly.