GREENVILLE — There’s a lot of positive programs taking place with the Darke County Humane Society, which was established in 1953.
Ruth McDaniel, acting president of the Darke County Humane Society (DCHS), is covering for Judy Francis, who is on medical leave.
DCHS, which is not a government-funded facility, is financially supported by numerous ongoing fund-raisers run by an extremely dedicated small set of volunteers, some generous bequests and donations from folks,” McDaniel said. “There are a few shelter workers who receive a paycheck, but everyone else is volunteering their time.”
According to the 2019 DCHS Shelter Report, DCHS assisted with 429 sick or injured domestic animals, adopted out 236 cats, 73 dogs, assisted with the spay/neuter of 350 cats with the low cost mobile unit and helped provide low cost vaccination services to hundreds of local animals with the Bi-Annual Vaccination Clinic.
“DCHS also assists as able with the TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) to help control the feral cat population in Darke County,” McDaniel said. “Some localities have pledged monies toward TNR in their areas and DCHS matches those funds. Recently, Greenville City allocated $8,000 to target a few troublesome feral cat colonies in the city, and DCHS will be matching those funds.”
DCHS’s shelter is located at 7053 North State Route 49 on the outskirts of Greenville.
“Their mandate is to assist domestic animals (and often their owners) that are in need,” she said. “Typically, the animals that come into their care are from cases of abuse, neglect, abandonment, illness or injury. If space allows, DCHS has assisted in emergency situations on a case by case basis where an owner becomes temporarily unavailable – a woman going into the abuse shelter, someone going into the hospital, etc. Please note that this is not the agency to report or surrender strays. That falls under the purview of the County Animal Shelter on County Home Road, but remember, they no longer take in cats. DCHS also has humane agents that work on cases of alleged abuse and neglect for our county.”
McDaniel announced some significant improvements at the shelter.
“In the past year, a major addition was completed for the dogs, allowing them new indoor/outdoor kennel runs,” she said. “The canines now have a more spacious, sanitary and well-ventilated area while they await their forever homes. This has opened up some room for expansion and upgrades. The cat area is getting a total overhaul! Their new area will be filled with natural light and will include large play areas for socialization and exercise. Most of the cages are being replaced. Now all the cages will be the veterinarian-recommended stainless steel which provide for better sanitation and disease control. Of course, such changes do not come cheap; for example, a bank of 15 cages runs at least $7,500. Since DCHS has been known to house up to 90 cats at one time, that is a heck of a lot of bingo games just for the cages themselves. Much of the interior remodeling is being performed by a long-time supporter of DCHS, Wade Barga of Barga Construction. Heating and Air Conditioning work is being accomplished with the assistance of the awesome folks at Barga Heating and Electric. Koessler Electric LLC is also offering valuable aid in wiring and electric.”
Perhaps an even more vital project is in the works.
“DCHS is working to renovate some existing space to create a separate, improved intake room. Most of the incoming animals arrive with unknown medical history as they are typically injured, neglected, abandoned or ill. While the critical arrivals are taken for urgent veterinary care, the others really need to remain in isolation until they can be vet checked, vaccinated, etc. So far, a new door has been added and concrete poured at a cost of about $900. Still needed is to insulate the outside wall, repair the roof / ceiling, and to add some additional cages and shelving. DCHS is also looking to add an outside storage barn to keep lawn care equipment and supplies.”
DCHS is always in need of volunteers.
“Of course, help at the shelter is always appreciated, but assistance is also needed at fundraising events, adoption events and community service events like the spay/neuter clinics,” she said. “Currently, a small group of incredibly dedicated volunteers carry the bulk of the day-to-day fundraising and community events. Even if you only have a few hours to spare, you could assist at the bi-weekly bingo events, the monthly Black Light Friday Bingo, various adoption events, the bi-annual vaccination clinics, the monthly spay/neuter or other special events. Obviously, donations of needed goods and services and money is always appreciated and is tax-deductible. To volunteer, you are asked to fill out a volunteer information sheet available the shelter, and Julie, our volunteer coordinator, will get in touch.”
A couple major fundraisers are approaching quickly. The first-ever Darke County Spring Wine Festival will be held at PAWS Bingo Hall on March 21. Seven local wineries and many area food and gift vendors will be on hand, and the proceed will benefit the DCHS. Discounted tickets are available online – check for more info under the Events tab on Facebook. The DCHS Annual Dinner and Auction will take place April 18, also at PAWS Bingo in Greenville.
“There are always some terrific items to bid on,” McDaniel said. “It is not too late to donation to the auction. Items do not have to be pet-related. It could be about anything, such as event tickets, collectibles, artwork, sports items, gift certificates for items or services – just no ‘garage sale’ type items.”
For more information or to donate, contact McDaniel by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the DCHS Facebook page. The next Vaccination Clinic for dogs and cats will be at PAWS Bingo on May 9.