A local organization is participating in a donation campaign in order to raise funds to combat the overpopulation of stray animals in Grant County.

Marion-Grant County Humane Society (MGCHS) will be participating in the Betty White Challenge on Jan. 17 to celebrate White’s 100th birthday after her passing and her dedication to animal activism.

The challenge beckons generous community members to donate just $5 to the local humane society to help with overpopulation needs, supplies, spay and neuter, building expansion and much more.

“Betty White was an animal advocate. She donated for years and years and took in strays. Everybody knew who she was,” said MGCHS board president Brenda Volmer. “Somebody else started that challenge to donate $5 to your local shelter or animal rescue on behalf of Betty White and her memory. It’s a good idea.”

MGCHS manager Angie Martz commented that White’s dedication to the animals expanded beyond donating as she continued to work through her later years to fund her passion for animals and put her words into action.

“I always followed her and always loved the way she dedicated her life. I read and watched the last couple years of her life where she continued to work so she could financially fund the things that she did,” said Martz. “She’s a great role model for anybody who wants to really understand what animal care is about and financially support that cause.”

Other donations are accepted by MGCHS as well. Currently, the humane society is experiencing an increased veterinarian bill due to the influx of animals that are in need of care.

Recently, a dog was left outside of the humane society around 5 a.m. with a notification to the humane society. Since staff do not arrive until later in the morning, the senior dog who is almost completely blind due to cataracts was forced to wait in the cold for five hours and then was rushed to the local veterinarian.

According to humane society staff, this is not an isolated incident and the past week has seen numerous animals taken to the veterinarian’s office for care, increasing the need for funds.

MGCHS is urging donors to debate donating directly to the Pipe Creek Animal Clinic to help ease the pressure of the rising bill and help the animals in need receive care. Recently, MGCHS has had to transfer a dog with a broken femur and a cat in need of a c-section to Pipe Creek, which increased the bills further.

“Our vet bills are always high because we do take them in if they’re in need,” said Martz. “Every day, we are taking animals to Pipe Creek.”

MGCHS is also working on a building expansion campaign that will allow for the humane society to extend the back of the building, harboring more animals inside the walls for the winter.

Staff stressed that the expansion is not meant to encourage the community to drop off more animals at the humane society. The campaign is meant to better house the animals that are already inside the building and allow for more space for staff and the animals due to overcrowding.

MGCHS has set numerous goals for 2022 that are reliant on the generous contributions of the community, including limiting the amount of cats that are being born and abandoned on the streets of Grant County, providing spay and neuter procedures at a reasonable cost, reducing the feral population and much more.

According to Martz, the humane society has spayed and neutered over 300 cats in the past year and Marion Animal Care and Control has spayed and neutered over 500 cats, totaling over 800 cats that have been processed by the two institutions in just over a year.

The procedure for spaying and neutering can be expensive for the organizations, so donations are required to conduct the procedures at a reasonable cost.

Martz and Volmer also set a goal to reduce the feral population through the spay and neuter campaign, stating that residents who complain about the overpopulation are reflecting in the thoughts of the humane society as well.

Martz and Volmer also encouraged those who cannot financially donate to donate time instead. MGCHS is always in need of dedicated volunteers and foster homes where the animals can prosper.

“We need fosters. It’s not ideal for the animals to even be in the shelter until they’re 8 to 10 weeks old. Their poor little immune systems just can’t handle everything that’s in a shelter setting,” said Martz. “The healthier of a start they get, the healthier they’re going to be in life.”

Donations can be made directly to MGCHS or to Pipe Creek Animal Clinic through a phone call or direct payment to help fund the goals and participate in the Betty White Challenge.

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