Writer / Janelle Morrison
Until recently, the HS for BC did not have a physical shelter. Through the perseverance of its board members and community partners, that
goal was achieved shortly after the first of the year. The board consulted with its partners at the Community Foundation of Boone County, which has held and managed a special fund designated for an animal shelter for several years. HS for BC was not able to obtain those funds until it had met all of the required criteria. The application for those was funds was recently completed, and the HS for BC was granted the full fund balance of $288,000. Shortly thereafter, the HS for BC announced that it now had a physical shelter to serve the animals of Boone County. The shelter will be open after a period of remodeling is completed. Stay tuned for an announcement on the shelter’s grand opening.
The official Humane Society of Boone County Animal Shelter will be located in Whitestown. It formerly housed the Zionsville Country Vet Clinic. It boasts 7,000 square feet with room to expand dog kennels and other rooms for catteries. The property previously donated to the HS for BC will be considered for multiple uses such as a potential future quarantine facility and the remaining land could be considered for a dog park. Decisions on the future uses will be revisited and decided at a later time. The immediate focus is to get established in the new facility as soon as possible.
Michael Hancock, the HS for BC board president, discussed the benefits that having a physical location will afford the board and volunteer staff. “With our new location, we will be able to have more volunteers assist us with administering things that will need to done at the shelter,” Hancock says. “I originally became involved as a volunteer in 2008 and was invited to the board in 2009. I helped with the organizing of the social media and IT development. Ever since we made the announcement that we are getting a physical shelter, we have had an outpouring of people who have not volunteered before asking about how they can get involved.”
Susan Austin, director of animal welfare, says that it was an arduous road to get where they are today. “It has been a hard eight years…. It has been a real labor of love, and there were times that we couldn’t help some of the animals, which broke our hearts, but we kept on with the end goal always on our minds: to get the shelter.”
She says the board members are very grateful to Boone County veterinarians who have provided vaccinations, spay and neutering services at no charge. There have also been many donors and volunteers. “Our list of people and organizations to thank is endless,” she says.
“We would like to mention the Zionsville Country Kennel, the sponsor of this year’s Fur Ball, our annual fundraiser. They have been instrumental in assisting us with kenneling the dogs for free until we could find foster homes.” She says that they have seen an increasing number of abandoned, neglected, and abused pets due to economic hardships, but they have tried to assist families with dog or cat food from their pet pantry. “The goal is to keep the animals in their original homes, if possible, rather than changing homes and environments,” she says.
Guy Davis, one of HS for BC’s founding board members and current director of membership, spoke about what the news of the facility means to the original members who have waited a long time for this day. “In 2007, I attended a meeting and discovered that there was no rescue facility for animals in our county,” Davis says. “The group decided to hold a second meeting where members of the community were selected to become volunteers who eventually became board members. We filed for our 501(c) (3) and immediately attempted to do rescues. With the help of neighboring communities, we got valuable insights on how to rescue and grow our organization. Over the years, we have grown our volunteer base into what we are today. It has been an incredible and heartwarming process. The individuals who have been willing to step up and take care of homeless animals and ones that are in a tough situation have made the journey very rewarding.”
The annual Fur Ball, A Mardis Gras Pawty to Change Their World, will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2017, at the Cardinal Room at the Gold Club of Indiana. The event’s naming sponsor is the Zionsville Country Kennel. Guests of the event will enjoy silent and live auctions, Best Jester Hat contest, photo booth sponsored by Pulte Homes, and a cash bar. Live auction items include fabulous prizes from the Denver Broncos and Chicago Cubs plus many more.
Casual attire. Individual tickets and tables may be purchased by phone at 765-485-8888 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $50 per person and $475 for a table of 10. All proceeds go towards helping the animals.