Thursday, February 02, 2017 - Updated: 1:41 PMAs Project Hope Humane Society begins the New Year, it marks an important milestone for the no-kill shelter — its 20th year of saving the lives of thousands of homeless animals.
While the shelter itself has changed locations and expanded, it’s mission of helping homeless animals and encouraging people to spay or neuter their pets has not changed.
Helping the animals is not a cheap endeavor, according to board member Susan Howell. Because the shelter receives no state or federal funding, fundraising is a very critical to the survival of the shelter. Howell chairs the shelter’s fundraising committee and says the fundraising events the shelter plans throughout the year are very important to the shelter’s existence.
“As far as what the funds we raise go for, it’s all for operating the shelter: vet bills, food bills, utilities, etc., because we receive no outside funding at all,” said Howell.
For Project Hope’s first fundraiser in 2017, the shelter is looking for businesses with high traffic counts to sell and display Paws for Hope, small decorative papers that people can sign their name on to show their love for their pets and their support for Project Hope and for World Spay Day, which is Tuesday, Feb. 28.
According to Project Hope, dogs and cats should be spayed or neutered by four months of age to prevent a first litter, but no matter how old the pet is, if it is producing off springs, it needs to be fixed. Cats go into heat and get pregnant by four months and dogs by five months.
Some of the statistics concerning overpopulation of pets include:
• One female cat and one male cat and its off springs results in 420,000 kitttens every seven years.
• In six years, one female dog and one male dog can produce 67,000 dogs.
Howell recalls how the shelter began in a storage shed on U.S. 45, and later moved to its current location at 1698 W. 10th St.
Within the past few years, the shelter has seen an expansion to the north side of the building to allow for two large cat rooms. “The cat rooms allow the cats to have more freedom and be out of small cages - it’s so much better,” said Howell.
“The biggest changes I have seen is of course social media, which has helped promote adoptions and awareness of homeless animals. Project Hope’s Facebook page has a lot of followers,” said Howell.
Board member Lynn Chrisman agrees with the increase in social media. She became involved with the shelter after the loss of her Siamese cat to cancer in 2010. “I felt the need to give back to other animals in need,” she explained.
When Chrisman began volunteering in 2010 the shelter’s Facebook page had less than 1000 likes and now there are more than 13,000 page likes. “We have other volunteers helping us with Instagram and Twitter. Allison Harpole and Amanda Ridel have helped get us a new website that is going to allow us to have a greater web presence.”
According to Chrisman, Facebook has allowed Project Hope the opportunity to reach so many more folks with the shelter’s needs, including online fundraisers for the shelter or a specific animal in need.
“It has also helped us to place dogs and cats that might have remained at the shelter much longer. In several instances, we’ve been able to reach adopters or a foster for a needy dog or cat case in a matter of minutes or hours that would have otherwise possibly not happened at all. The reach of social media is tremendous and it’s something we much continue to expand and grow,” said Chrisman.
Chrisman also emphasizes visiting the website may also make a donation via Paypal and there is an option for people to have automatic monthly donation set up through Paducah Bank, even if the individual does not bank there.
Individuals may visit the shelter’s website at: www.projecthopehumanesociety.org
Any business that would be willing to sell and display the Paws for Hope from Feb. 14-28, is encouraged to contact Howell at 618-638-3486 or Lynn Chrisman at 270-519-4422