The Albany Humane Society saw 40 cats like this one adopted during the past five months, despite over 650 cats being taken in by the shelter. (Staff Photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — The Albany Humane Society wants to raise awareness and much needed funds at the organization’s ‘The Fur Flying’ New Year’s Eve Bash fund raiser.
The event, the first ever for the organization, is being held at the Nelson-Tift Building at 226 W. Broad Ave. and will feature live music by local band Relapse.
With a ticket price of $50 the purpose of the event ring in the new year while also contributing to a worthy cause, as all funds raised will go toward Humane Society programs.
According to Humane Society Director Donna Strickland 2100 hundred animals were taken in by the shelter over the last five months, while only 189 were adopted during that time period.
“We had 39 animals adopted in November,” said Strickland. “That’s not enough. I can tell you that.”
Strickland went on to say that while adoptions don’t necessarily increase this time of the year, owner surrenders do, making the timing of the fundraiser very important.
According to Strickland, many people give pets as Christmas gifts without understanding the level of care involved with owning a pet. After a few months, they are overwhelmed and take the animals to the Humane Society.
“Unfortunately we will see an uptick in surrenders over the next few months,” said Strickland. “The new’s worn off and you have to make a big commitment. We don’t promote animals as gifts. This is a living breathing thing that’s got to be taken care of. The same thing happens around Easter with rabbits and chicks.”
Another issue the Humane Society hopes to bring awareness to though it’s fund-raising efforts, is the need for people to stop careless breeding, which leads to unnecessary growth in the shelter’s population.
“Irresponsible breeding is a big issue,” Strickland said. “There are people who continue to have litters thinking all the dogs will be adopted. They have these litters of puppies and think, ‘they’re so cute.’ Well they’re all cute and they’re all sweet, but we just don’t have homes for all of them.”
Strickland explained how the Humane Society gets it’s animals, saying it’s a mix of animals brought in by Animal Control and those that have been surrendered by their owners.
During the past 5 fives months, 1h493 of the animals taken in were brought by Animal Control and 617 were owner surrenders. 178 of those brought in were claimed by owners who had lost them, 189 were adopted and 30 were transferred to other shelters.
“Those animals got a second chance,” said Strickland.
Strickland said all the animals taken in by the Humane Society are given health exams and evaluated for temperment. Those which show a good disposition and pass physical tests are then moved to the adoption area.
Animals with temperament issues or major health issues, unfortunately, are euthanized.
While much of the money raised at the New Year’s Eve fundraiser will go toward operational costs, a good portion of it will go to programs the Humane Society runs, including the Healthy Hounds program.
The Healthy Hounds program is designed to help with veterinary costs for treating certain health issues that can get pretty costly. For example, Strickland said before the program, animals with issues, such as a broken leg would be put down.
“Vet care’s very expensive,” said Strickland. “We need this fundraiser to continue the programs we have to help. Without the community we can’t afford to operate and do all that we do.”
Animals who have certain diseases often have to be put down simply to avoid contaminating the rest of the population.
Strickland said this summer there was an outbreak of Parvo, a highly contagious virus that affects the digestive systems of dogs, leading to a high number of animals having to be put down.
“Parvo was rampant earlier in the summer,” said Strickland. “The vets were seeing it too. We can’t allow our animal population to be contaminated, so we ended up having to put down a lot of animals.”
As a reminder of what ultimately can happen to animals that don’t get adopted, the Humane Society has put up a Christmas tree each year during the holiday season with light commemorating all the animals that were put down during the year.
“We started doing the memorial tree about 12 or 13 years ago,” Strickland said. “There is one light on the tree for each animal that was euthanized. It’s our goal that one year that tree will be dark.”
Through community donations the shelter has been able to make some strides in reducing that number as this year’s tree only had about 3600 lights, as opposed to having over 8000 the first year the tree went up.
Strickland hopes events like Tuesday’s Fur Flying New Year’s Eve Bash will allow the Humane Society to continue to curb the number of animals being euthanized and increase adoption numbers as well.
The Fur Flyin New Year’s Eve Bash begins at 7:30 and will run past midnight. The $50 ticket price includes heavy hors d’oeuvres from Southern Elegance Catering, party favors and a champagne toast. There will also be a cash bar and a raffle.