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Humane Society of Central Illinois meets end-of-year goal for 2021, still looking for help in 2022
By Luke Smucker
Central Illinois continues to make a difference in the lives of abused and unwanted dogs, cats and, small animals. On Jan. 1, the Humane Society of Central Illinois announced it had met its $30,000 Home for the Holidays end-of-year goal. According to a post on the HSCI Facebook page, the goal was completed by a donor who wants everyone to have the opportunity to have their lives enriched by a pet.
“It’s a great feeling to have met and surpassed our end of the year goal,” Jane Kahman, Manager at the Humane Society of Central Illinois said. “It’s important that we meet or exceed these goals because HSCI does not receive federal, state, or local tax dollars. In addition to nominal adoption fees, HSCI relies heavily on donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations who also have a commitment to animal welfare, and fundraising activities.”
The HSCI has the donation support of over 900 individuals and volunteers who dedicate countless hours each year. The organization spay/neuters over 1,000 animals and helps more than 2,200 animals annually.
The community can make help make a difference in the lives of abused and unwanted dogs, cats and, small animals in a number of ways. The most obvious way is volunteering, but other ways include adopting a pet from the shelter, representing the humane society at public events, or donating much- needed supplies to help care for the animals.
“During the initial COVID lockdown in 2020, we didn’t have volunteers in the building and adoptions were by appointment only. So, starting last year, we rebuilt our volunteer program,” Kahman said.
“We’re starting to do the orientation classes again and encouraging people to come on out to help us. You can be trained to properly clean the cat rooms, socialize the cats, walk some dogs, and that kind of thing. We’re seeing a big uptick again in our volunteer program, which makes me happy. You’re not only doing it for the animals, you’re doing it for the shelter, but you’re also doing it for yourself – volunteering just makes you feel good.”
If a person is allergic, or can’t be in direct contact with animals, there are still other ways to volunteer. The humane society is always looking for people who could represent the humane society at social events, bake things for fundraising events, or donate much-needed items. Some of the supplies the humane society uses regularly include:
• 2-ply toilet tissue
• cat litter (non-clumping, unscented please!)
• dishwashing liquid
• laundry detergent – powder or liquid
• liquid hand soap
• martingale dog collars (combination collars)
• paper folders with 2 pockets
• paper towels
• paper-based small animal bedding (ex: care fresh)
• pastel 8 ½ x 11” copy paper
• white 8 ½ x 11” copy paper
The increase in volunteers and community donations for the humane society is important because Kahman says new animals are coming into the shelter all the time. In the past year, the humane society has seen a big increase in the number of people requesting to relinquish their dogs. Cats, on the other hand, have stayed pretty stable over the last several years.
“In talking with my partners around the state, it’s the same thing,” Kahman said. “Their shelters are full of dogs and I am getting calls from them all the time, ‘can you help us by transferring in some dogs.’ I always help out when I can, at one time I might pull out 10 dogs from a shelter, animal control, or high-kill places when I have space.”
Kahman said people relinquish their pets for a number of reasons, but changing homes, becoming homeless, or a family member with severe allergies tend to be the most reoccurring. These requests come from across the county, not just in Bloomington-Normal.
“We had one the other day, someone asked if we would take their dog because they had lost their home,” Kahman said. “What do you do if the place you are moving to doesn’t allow animals? It’s heartbreaking. We also see a lot of situations where a family got a puppy, but somebody in the family turns out to be severely allergic. Unfortunately, you never know until you live with an animal for a few days, whether it’s going to work out for your household.”
For that reason, Kahman says the humane society will always take their animals back. “We’d rather have our animals back than to have them kept in a bad situation,” Kahman said. “If people ever find themselves in a position to not be able to care for their pet, they should always bring the pet back to us – I think that’s important. We are a limited intake facility so our animals always have a kennel that is theirs until they get adopted. So, I think that sets us apart also, we love these guys just like we’re family -- we are a family.”
The adoption of animals is what keeps Kahman and the volunteers at the humane society motivated.
“When someone adopts an animal, not only are they helping that animal, they are helping the whole animal welfare system. Seeing these pets come into our program, go through the adoption process and then go home to a welcoming family, to me that is very rewarding and a big part of why I do what I do,” Kahman said.
The reason to adopt an animal is different for everybody. Kahman said sometimes an adopter will come to the shelter and want to go home with an animal the same day. However, stages of the adoption process were put in place to make sure that each adoption is a good decision for everyone involved.
“We are making sure that our adopter is making the right decision,” Kahman said. “We don’t allow the gifting of pets and we require that all members of the household meet the potential adopted animal before it goes home. If it seems like someone is not solid in their interest to adopt, I tell them to wait. That’s because finding a new home is hard on the animals, too.”
On Jan. 10, The Humane Society of Central Illinois started up its latest fundraiser. The event will continue to take place each Monday at The Station Saloon, 1611 Morrissey Drive, Bloomington, until the Queen of Hearts is picked. The fundraiser, called the Queen of Hearts Raffle, is a 50/50 raffle where the jackpot starts at $1,000, but can reach up to $50,000!
Players purchase raffle tickets each week either online or at Station Saloon for $5 each. Online ticket sales close at noon on the day of the drawing. Tickets will be sold at Station Saloon every Monday starting January 10 from 4 - 7 pm with the drawing immediately after.
If selected at one of the drawings, the player has a chance to flip a corresponding card by picking the number displayed on the back. The player may win the jackpot by finding the Queen of Hearts on the Queen of Hearts board.
“It’s going to be a weekly event until that queen shows her face,” Kahman said. “During that time, the jackpot should keep growing.”
more information on the fundraiser, or the Humane Society of
Central Illinois, visit https://www.HSCIpets.org.
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