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Humane Society needs $300,000 for shelter

April 15, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

If every pet owner and pet lover would send $5 to the Humane Society of Washington County, a $300,000 shortfall in funding for a new shelter building would disappear, said campaign chairman Joe Tischer.

The shelter recently learned it wouldn't be getting any state funding to help make the $2 million project a reality.

But that hasn't discouraged the campaign workers; rather, it has energized them, Tischer said.

"We have been busy and have raised $1.7 million," Tischer said.

That includes $900,000 from county government and many individual and corporate contributions.

More than 70 percent of the animal control duties performed in Washington County are done by the Humane Society, Tischer said.

"We save the taxpayers thousands of dollars with our services," Tischer said.

The shelter got $40,000 from the Washington County Gaming Commission and is hoping to get more in the future.

Tischer said he expects a generous donation from the City of Hagerstown and more funds from citizens, pet lovers and businesses still to be approached.

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"We'll go door-to-door if we must," he said

All gifts are tax-deductible.

Architectural plans for the new shelter are complete. Groundbreaking is scheduled for early July.

The present facility is about 30 years old. It was built to shelter 30 dogs and 30 cats, Tischer said.

"Currently we are handling approximately 4,500 animals annually, finding homes for only 600 of those," Tischer said.

The remainder are euthanized.

The name of the Washington County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was changed to the Humane Society of Washington County last fall. The organization changed its name on its paperwork and signs but used both names until the end of 1999, Executive Director Shelly Moore said.

One reason the group changed its name is that it wants to emphasize it is a humane organization and does more than just animal control, she said.

They also hope the new name will make it clear the organization is not a county department, she said.

That fact seemed to have been lost on those in state government who failed to earmark money for the Humane Society, believing it to be a county department, Tischer said.

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