GREENVILLE – The Darke County Humane Society (DCHS), founded in 1953, had its annual Charity Auction and Benefit Dinner, Saturday, April 22, at PAWS Bingo Hall, in Greenville.
DCHS President Judy Francis said the Humane Society has grown from a bake sale organization to a viable business. Each year, about 3.7 million animals are euthanized, according to the American Humane Association. The DCHS is a no kill, non-profit organization supported solely by donations, bequests, grants and fundraising. These funds are used to pay for expenses including veterinary services, food, shelter, medications and spay/neuter assistance.
The Benefit Dinner is the Society’s biggest fundraiser, which last year brought in $10,000, Francis said. The proceeds go towards many of the DCHS programs that cost, in total, about $90,000 annually to operate, she said. For example, the Trap-Neuter-Return Program is very costly. The public helps pay. It is designed to reduce the number of free-roaming community cats humanely, through sterilization (spay/neuters), rather than by euthanasia. With so many cats able to reproduce very quickly, two litters per year, with four to six kittens per litter, their population number rebounds every breeding season. In the last two years, the DCHS has trapped and returned an excess of 500 cats, according to Francis.
“We find colonies of feral cats, trap them, have them spayed or neutered and return them to the colony,” Francis said. “In the controlled colonies when new cats come in, the colony slowly progresses down and they are not as bothersome.”
Francis has been DCHS President for 17 years, because animals are without a voice, she said.
“They need us for that voice,” Francis said. “They are just animals. People don’t realize how unable cats and dogs are to take care of themselves. People think they can dump them and they will find a way to survive. Oftentimes dogs are shot by trying to survive the only way they know how, and that is irritating other people. It is one of the biggest problems out there.”
Greenville resident Vicki Hess helps volunteer to raise funds for the spay/neuter program. She got involved two years ago when she received great trust from a local cat.
“I found a stray cat that was pregnant and she had four babies that she brought over to me one at a time,” Hess said. “Judy (Francis) was next door and she was trying to help find the babies. Judy said, ‘I have never seen a cat bring their babies to someone.’ There are too many out there. People get them as a kitten and often throw them out the door as they age, because they are no longer small and cute. I don’t do that with animals. I love them like they are humans. I do anything I can to help raise funds for the stray cats out there.”
According to Francis the DCHS requires the help of many volunteers and is always in need of more.
“We are involved in many programs and next year, we are expanding even further,” she said. “We assist in many different ways. Our biggest goal is to educate people on how to take care of animals vs. prosecuting for abuse. Animals give back and it is just wonderful to know that you can make a difference. The difference isn’t big enough, but we do make a difference and it is a great feeling. We are proud of the volunteers we do have. Lots of people work for our animals, but we always need more.”
To donate time, money, or to learn more visit http://www.darkecountyhumanesociety.org