Humane Society unable to meet demand

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Some of Freeborn County’s most helpless residents are in serious trouble.

With the economic downtown, the Humane Society of Freeborn County is facing a crisis. Its pens are full and operating funds are depleted.

The Humane Society has had a record number of animals surrendered to it in the last 18 months. Those people who can’t afford the $20 surrender fee for their animals have simply abandoned them, said Christa Stieler, director of the Humane Society.

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“Our concerns are immediate,” Stieler said. “We can’t vet an animal unless it’s an emergency. Some of our cats need special food, but we can’t buy much of it. We have dogs that need to be neutered.”

What’s more, people who might normally adopt a dog or cat aren’t because they feel they can’t afford it at this time, she said.

It’s left the organization scrambling for money to pay its monthly bills, feed those animals in its care and pay veterinary bills.

Realistically, the shelter needs about $1,500 per month to meet its needs, Stieler said.

The Humane Society has scheduled a number of fundraisers over the next few months.

The first is a pancake breakfast this Saturday from 7 to 10 a.m. at Applebee’s. All-you-can-eat pancakes, orange juice and coffee and a side order of bacon will be served for $5 per person. There will also be Humane Society T-shirts and sweatshirts for sale.

The United Way of Freeborn County and Mike and Patty Stanley have signed over the rights to the book, “Ava Finds A Home,” a book written about a former Humane Society foster dog by her adoptive parents for the United Way. The books will be available for purchase at the pancake breakfast.

On June 19, there will be a pet parade, co-sponsored by Hy-Vee, Purina and KATE Radio from 10 a.m. to noon at Hy-Vee.

On July 3, the Humane Society, in cooperation with KATE Radio, will be in the parade. Volunteers will be walking through the crowd accepting donations. Anyone who makes a $25 donation will be eligible to hit radio announcer Darrel Amundson in the face with a pie.

Also in July, the organization will be at the Albert Lea Farmers Market to sell its T-shirts, sweatshirts and the book.

The group also needs more volunteers, not just to work at the shelter, but to help with its fundraisers. Anyone who could help is asked to call members Karen Meyerson at 402-0613 or Nancy Rosenberg at 373-1546. People can also e-mail

“We thank the community for supporting us, and we’re grateful for the volunteers we do have,” Rosenberg said. She said she hopes people will continue to look for the Humane Society’s fliers and take part in its events or volunteer to help with them.

Stieler also said the organization is looking for people who are interested in taking on one or more of the organization’s monthly bills — garbage service, electricity or the phone bill. And the organization is also looking for organizations to co-sponsor fundraising events.

The Humane Society is also looking into setting up a pet food bank for people who can no longer afford to feed their pets, in cooperation with existing food shelves. This is an effort to help families who can no longer afford to feed their pets keep their pets. Members are applying for grant money to make this a reality.

The Humane Society has been partnering with other agencies to help find homes for its animals. For example, Camp Companion of Rochester has been helpful in placing a number of kittens for the local shelter.

While the Humane Society has successfully raised enough money for an addition to its shelter, and plans are for construction to begin soon, members don’t want to have to use that money for day-to-day operating expenses, the women said.

Instead, they hope people will be compassionate toward fellow living things.

“They are the most helpless,” Meyerson said of the animals. “They and children have no voice. They are dependent on us human adults.

“We are only as good as how we help our most helpless creatures.”