Building a new home

Skim the cat acts coy and refuses to do a trick for MCHS volunteer Judy Weinberger Wednesday. MCHS volunteers hope to care for cats like Skim at a new animal shelter which volunteers are planning. - Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com

Though the 15th annual Walk For Animals is a couple days away, Mower County Humane Society volunteers are planning for the future.

The money they raise from the walkathon will go toward operating expenses, but volunteers are about to go public with a fundraising campaign for a new animal shelter. They’ve got the land, a decent amount of money and now all they need is public support.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Jane Roden, MCHS vice president.

MCHS volunteers have long known their current shelter isn’t equipped for the needs of the animals they rescue. More than 100 cats and about 20 to 25 dogs have become the normal population size at the animal shelter, the result of unwanted pets and feral births.

Stachia the cat hangs out at the Mower County Humane Society Animal Shelter Wednesday. Stachia could get a new home soon as MCHS volunteers are raising funds for a new animal shelter. - Trey Mewes/trey.mewes@austindailyherald.com

Yet volunteers weren’t serious about a new shelter until around May, when they discussed what it would take to make a new shelter a reality. That’s why volunteers are busy drawing plans for a new shelter, though nothing has been completed yet. Volunteers are still researching how much a new shelter will cost, and what necessities are required to make a good shelter.

“We aren’t going to do anything until we know absolutely what our needs are,” Roden said.

Several anonymous donors have stepped forward to help the humane society thus far. Volunteers have raised a little more than $150,000 toward the animal shelter, though they hope to get to the $200,000+ mark. At that point, another donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) will step forward with a matching grant of $200,000. Volunteers also have donated land (from an anonymous benefactor) just outside Austin’s city limits as well.

“We’re pretty excited about the response we’ve gotten,” said Kelly Rush, MCHS volunteer. “We’ve got some very generous people that like animals.”

There’s no word on what type of fundraising campaign volunteers are looking at, as plans for a new shelter are still somewhat up in the air. Volunteers are slightly hesitant about revealing too much, as they want people to know no one gets paid at MCHS and don’t want them to think any donated money would go toward someone’s salary.

For now, MCHS volunteers are busy making sure the current shelter stays afloat, which is why they hope the Pet Walkathon is still a well-attended event. Rush said she never knows how many people will show up until the event happens, but she’s heard pledge forms have run out in several places around town.

The Mower County Humane Society began taking pledges last month for the Walk For Animals, which takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at Mill Pond.

Pledge forms are available at Austin Veterinary Clinic, Double K Specialty, Austin Public Library and the MCHS shelter. The top four pledge earners will win grand prizes, while prizes will be given for participants who earn $50, $100, $150, and $200 respectively.

Regardless, there’s plenty of future good news for Mower County’s wayward puppies and kitties as they take shelter before finding their forever home.

“It’s going to be great.” Roden said.

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