FAIRMONT - A $25,000 donation has given a local animal rescue group "a shot in the arm" and put them closer to their fundraising goal to keep serving animals.
Earlier this month, Martin County commissioners approved donating the money to the Martin County Humane Society, which plans to enlarge the Carl Nettifee Memorial Shelter, located at 522 E. Margaret Street. The animal shelter needs $120,000 to pay for all the renovations, and the county's donation brings the total raised so far to $100,000.
"It just gave me a shot in the arm; the end looks so much closer," said Marilyn Belseth, board member. "I was so discouraged; it was so slow coming."
"It does give us positive reinforcement from the community of Martin County that we'd be able to reach our goal and put the addition onto the shelter," said Laurence Lau, another board member.
With only $20,000 left to raise, donations are still arriving.
A generous pledge by the Schellpeper family promises to match donations up to $5,000, and the humane society board is hoping others are willing to give to the cause.
The goal is to raise the rest of the money by the end of the year, said Lau, so they can make final arrangements with contractors in time to start building in the spring.
Donations can be made directly to the shelter's account at Profinium or checks can be dropped off at the shelter, which is open 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nettifee shelter takes in animals in the county and acts as the city pound, as well. Of all those animals, 71 percent come from outside Fairmont city limits, Lau said.
That made an impression on commissioners, including Steve Pierce, who pushed to make the donation, Belseth said.
"They realized how much of an asset the humane society and shelter is to Martin County," Lau said. "One commissioner was very receptive to the fact our adoption rate is so high."
Martin County Humane Society also has a policy against euthanizing animals to make space.
The only reasons the shelter has animals euthanized are due to an advanced illness or injury, or a temperament that makes the animal unsafe to adopt. The policy makes for tight quarters when more animals are coming in than going out. It also increases the need for the renovations.
The shelter uses websites like petfinder.com to publicize animals available for adoption and also works with various groups that specialize in select breeds. Many pet lovers from outside the area and the state are attracted to the local animal shelter because of its reasonable adoption rates, according to Belseth.
It takes a lot of money to keep the shelter up and runnin; that's why there are multiple fundraisers through the year.
The fall plant sale will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 8 at the shelter. Those wishing to thin out their flora can bring bulbs, tubers, perennials and the like to the shelter from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 6 and 7. Please list the name of the plant, the color and care instructions (i.e. likes shade or sun).
The dog walk will start at 2 p.m. Sept. 16 at Cedar Creek Park. Donation sheets are available at the shelter or at mchsofmn.org online. There will be food and a program, free t-shirts and prizes.
"Just a fun afternoon," Belseth said.
All animals must be vaccinated and on a leash.
"We have had a cat or two. You don't see that very often," Belseth said.
As welcome as donations are, volunteers are needed just as much and for more than people think.
"You don't even have to work with animals," Lau said.
"I wish we could find someone with computer knowledge to work on grants," Belseth said. "They could do that at home."
Other jobs are landscaping, laundry, writing thank you notes, marking items for garage sales and helping with fundraisers, including baking goodies.
"We need to get younger ones involved," Belseth noted, "because we're all getting older."