‘Paws’ to remember humane society for holidays

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

‘Tis the season not only for gift-giving and Christmas carols but also, it seems, for people to bring in litters upon litters of puppies to the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society.

&uot;It’s the second wave of the year,&uot; said society Director Pat Cox, with the first &uot;wave&uot; of puppies coming each spring. &uot;And no one has just four or five (puppies) any more &045; it’s more like eight.&uot;

With the Liberty Road shelter routinely holding more than 100 animals at a time and sometimes more than 200, perhaps it’s no wonder that the society depends greatly on donations.

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That’s especially true since the United Way of the Miss-Lou, due to local economic woes, had to cut its contribution to the society by 10 percent last year and 50 percent this year.

&uot;Everybody’s taken tremendous cuts, and we’re no exception,&uot; said board member Linda Harper. &uot;We’re already struggling to pay our bills and on upkeep of the shelter and our animals.&uot;

The shelter’s needs fall into several categories, according to volunteers:

4Funds. Monetary donations can be used to help keep up the shelter, pay for upkeep of animals and pay back bills. &uot;The community has been responding wonderfully, but we haven’t paid off our debt yet,&uot; Cox said.

In addition to making financial donations, people can come out to support Humane Society fund-raisers.

For example, for just $10 per pet, people can come to Natchez Mall between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday to have their pets’ pictures taken with Santa himself, with $7 per pet going to help support the shelter.

(Actually, society volunteer Ronnie Harper will be the one wearing the red-and-white suit, but don’t tell Fluffy.)

4Adoptions. To keep this top-of-mind with local residents, the society has placed a Christmas tree inside the north entrance of Natchez Mall. Its ornaments are actually pictures of animals people can adopt from the shelter.

&uot;We did it last year, and our adoptions actually went up,&uot; society volunteer Susan Callon said.

4Volunteers to help with everything from manning the shelter to baking goods for bake sale and party fund-raisers to selling tickets for raffles.

4Professional services. The shelter building has holes in the inside walls and rotting facia boards on the outside. Other needs include painting, minor inside repairs, some electrical work and repairs to the attic fans, which helps keep the shelter aired out.

&uot;Carpenters, plumbers, somebody who can work with a hammer and nail &045; we definitely need that,&uot; Harper said.

4Items ranging from pet food to cleaning supplies.

The shelter’s wish list includes canned dog food; canned kitten and cat food; Purina Dog Chow; Clorox bleach; paper towels; old towels, sheets and bedspreads; and rubber gloves.

It could also use Pine Sol; large garbage bags; brooms, mops and buckets; dog houses; pet carriers; and aluminum cans, according to Harper.

The society has also set out barrels at the Markets and Piggly Wiggly, as well as Wal-Mart, for people to leave contributions of pet food for the shelter.

A recent wave of publicity about the shelter’s needs has brought much support from individuals, businesses and organizations alike, even including the donation of a car from one local resident.

And, although the shelter is not out of the woods yet, &uot;we’d like to thank the community for their support,&uot; Harper said.

In addition to helping keep the shelter open, such donations encourage the society’s volunteers. &uot;You don’t know how good it feels to know someone really cares,&uot; Cox said.

But the main thing the society would like locals to do is to spay or neuter their animals, Harper said. &uot;That would help with our population right there,&uot; she said.