POMEROY — Christmas came a little early for many of Meigs County’s animals this year, thanks to grants to the Meigs County Humane Society from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Vicky Baer, secretary-treasurer of the local Humane Society, announced that the ASPCA has awarded two grants to the local Humane Society. The first was a grant for $2,000 for the Hay Bank for Impoverished and Low-Income Horse Owners; and the second, a grant of $5,000 for the Pet Food Bank for local pet owners.
“We are so grateful to the ASPCA for these grants because it puts us in a position to help those in need,” Baer said.
The ASPCA was chartered in 1886 to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States and works to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide. Based in New York City, the ASPCA also offers emergency and disaster response grants to animal welfare organizations whose communities suffer the impact of natural and other disasters.
Baer said the two grants make it possible for the Meigs County Humane Society to assist owners of horses, as well as cats and dogs, who have difficulty securing food for their animals due to the economic downturn.
“In the past, we’ve been able to provide only small amounts of funds to assist owners in distress,” said Baer, “but now, because of these two generous grants from the ASPCA, we are in a position to help more owners in keeping their animals well fed, healthy and happy.”
She added that owners who can show proof of low income, such as a food stamp or Medicaid card, Social Security Disability or unemployment verification are eligible for help. However, Baer emphasized, “The Meigs County Humane Officer, in his rounds and answers to calls, has in the past been able to provide names of animals in distress, and those animals will be, as always, our priority.”
Baer went on to explain that the ASPCA recognizes how pet owners face daily dilemmas in finding ways to feed both themselves and their pets, and that these grants will make a major difference in the quality of life of the animals the humane society assists. She added that the Meigs County Humane Society, in operation since the early 1970s, has found it more and more difficult to provide help for county residents dealing frequently with foreclosures and unemployment.
“Some citizens have the erroneous idea that the MCHS is the recipient of federal or state funds, but this is not the case,” said Baer. “We rely primarily on membership dues, donations to our Thrift Shoppe, bequests from wills and occasional help from private animals welfare organizations. We pay half the salary for the part-time county humane officer, assist with emergency veterinary situations, and help with spay/neuter costs. We have therefore little to spare. We ask county residents to support our thrift shop and become members of the society, and in this way, assist us in making lives better for the county’s animals.”
Baer said that several owners have already received help with hay for horses, and the humane officer has alerted the Meigs County Humane Society to owners struggling with financial difficulties feeding their pets. Those Meigs County residents who need emergency help paying for food for cats, dogs and horses should contact the Meigs County Humane Society Thrift Store at 740-992-6064 for more information.