HSMC event furthers new shelter efforts

From left, volunteers Ian Ericson, Jon Fetcho, Tyler Houston, Karl Mulnik and Alex Bell are all smiles as they assist with get- ting names submitted for raffles during Saturday’s “A Cause For Paws” Helping Strays fundraiser at The Falls. (Robyn Dexter photo)

The community came together again Saturday night in support of the Humane Society of Monroe County during a fundraising dinner and auction fondly known as “A Cause For Paws.”

The HSMC, also known as Helping Strays, has outgrown its current shelter on Route 3 south of Waterloo and seeks to raise an estimated $2.5 million needed to build a new state-of-the-art animal shelter and community center off Hanover Road between Columbia and Waterloo.

Saturday night, patrons raised around $70,000 for this new facility.

Helping Strays business administrator Deb Dubis Foster said the evening went “fabulously” as far as she is concerned.

“Everybody had a good time, and we saved a lot of animals,” she said.>>>

Clarification: Though the event did raise around $70,000, this event is held mainly for annual operating expenses of the Humane Society. About $15,000 of the $70,000 was actually for the Capital Campaign. The organization still needs just under a million dollars to complete only Phase 1 of the new shelter. The Capital Campaign will be around for awhile.

In addition to live and silent auctions and dinner, awards were handed out to strong sup- porters of the no-kill shelter, including the “Foster Parents of the Year” award to Mark and Kathleen Thien, “Volunteer of the Year” award to the Broske family and “Honoree of the Year” award to John Rendleman.

As far as the capital campaign goes, Foster said around $620,000 has been raised to- ward phase one of the new shelter, which has an estimated total cost of $1.25 million. The rest will be funded through a bank loan.

“We’re looking to break ground in late summer, and the facility should be finished about nine months after that,” Foster said.

The current shelter holds 14 dogs and 40 cats, and the rest of the animals in need of homes are in foster care with families and businesses in and around the Monroe County.

Plans for the large new facility include room for nearly 30 adoption-ready dogs, a large turf play area, and separate rooms for smaller animals and those who live in foster care but are spending time at the shelter hoping to find long-term families.

Another important aspect of the proposed new shelter is a quarantine area for dogs and cats that come to the humane society sick.

The isolation rooms will help dogs suffering from parvo, which can be fatal if not treated quickly and aggressively. Currently, the humane society has to locate a foster family with no other pets willing to take on a sick dog – or send the dog to another area shelter that can accommodate them.

When complete, the new shelter will also have a community education room and offices.

Phase one will create a healthy and safe temporary home for the animals, while future sections (phases two and three) will serve as a community resource for volunteer opportunities, educational programs for adults and children, and a training resource for people and their pets.

The site of the future shelter is on a six-acre parcel of land that was donated by a group of local businesspeople.

The location has several benefits, according to HSMC officials. In addition to being much larger, its proximity to St. Louis is expected to provide a boost to adoption numbers.

For more information, visit www.HelpingStrays.org or call 618-939-PETZ.

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