DARKE COUNTY — The Darke County Humane Society has done a lot for the animals in the area in 2016.
Dustin Wills, in his fourth year as shelter director/humane agent, reports that the humane society adopted out 117 animals: one rabbit, 63 dogs and 113 cats this past year.
“We also picked up 276 injured animals and got them vet care,” he said.
He also noted that the humane society’s spay neuter clinic altered a total of 302 cats; 146 males and 156 females; and that the Village of Versailles Trap Neuter Program (TNR) Partnership altered 10 feral cats; seven females and three males.
“A grant we received allowed us to alter 560 cats in the southeast portion of Greenville,” Wills said. “A total of 257 males and 303 females were successfully fixed and returned to their feral colonies.”
He said the low-cost, cat spay-neuter clinics dates for 2017 are: Feb. 10, March 10, April 7, May 19, June 16, July 7, Sept. 8, Oct. 13, Nov. 1o and Dec. 8.
“It opens at 7:30 a.m., and you have to make pre-arrangements,” he said. “You must pre-pay and register at the Darke County Humane Society; $35 for males and $65 for females.”
The Darke County Humane Society not only cares for animals around here, but, when Wills heard about the recent fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, he got hold of the humane society down there and knew he wanted to help them out. So, he, wife Megan and his parents, Richard and Karla Wills, made two trips down there with lots of supplies.
“On the first trip, we were there three days and took $2,500 worth of supplies down to them, which they used up in two days’ time,” Wills said. “Then, we came back and I called everybody and we took down another load with $3,000 in supplies, plus we helped with search and rescue.”
He said the humane society paid for their room and board while they were there.
He also noted that the following local businesses helped by donating supplies: Winner’s Meats, Rural King, The Meat Shop on Broadway, Lowe’s, Keller Grain and Feed, Medicine and More, Shell Party Mart, 548Tire, Dr. Bradley Bruns, Darke County Veterinary Service and Hartzell Veterinary Service.
Upcoming charity events for the humane society include the annual Charity Auction and Benefit Dinner, one of its biggest fundraisers, set for April 22; and the St. Paddy’s Day Kibbles and Kilt Comedy Show on March 17, both to be held at Paws Bingo Hall at 848 Martin St. in Greenville. Ongoing fundraisers that help out the organization are the regular bingo played every Wednesday and Thursday night at and the Blacklight Bingo held the final Friday of each month, also at PAWS Bingo.
The charity auction and benefit dinner will include dinner, drink and the auction, which will feature such prizes as event tickets, autographed items, a vacation package and more, while the Kibbles and Kilt event will include green beer and fun, according to Wills, who noted that tickets for that are $10 pre-sale or $15 at the door.
Judy Francis, president of the Darke County Humane Society, said proceeds from instant ticket sales sold at many places throughout Darke County also benefit the humane society.
The humane society also hosts a spring shot clinic at the bingo hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 13, when pet owners can save money on their dogs’ and cats’ shots.
Wills said construction continues at the Darke County Humane Society location on State Route 49-North of Greenville.
“We are adding a new dog room,” he said. “Carpenters Local 136 out of Dayton is donating the labor. It will hopefully be completed by the end of summer.”
“We take in injured animals that need emergency vet care,” Wills said.
“Everything but exotic animals,” Francis added.
Her advice to pet owners?
“If you have a cat and don’t want it, take the proper measure to get it into a proper home,” she said. “Don’t dump them. That causes our biggest problems.”
Wills, a 2000 graduate of Greenville High School, had been a volunteer firefighter in Greenville at one time. He took classes at Ohio State University in business management, and ran a business for two years in Indianapolis before returning to the Greenville area.
He and wife Megan have two children, Maddy Walters and Cameron Wills.
“This is a rewarding job,” he said. “But, it can be an emotionally taxing job. It’s never ending.”
“Abuse doesn’t end; animals don’t end and people lack knowledge,” said Francis. “It’s continuous, and it can get overwhelming. We go out with the attitude of educating, not prosecuting.”
Information about the organization and its activities can be found at pawsbingohall.com
This writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.