Column by Mary Wynne Kling, Outreach and Development Co-ordinatior, Lee County Humane Society.
Donations by private businesses and benefactors provide over 60% of Lee County Humane Society’s budget every year. We’re exceptionally grateful for every one of our donors, and as we move toward the end of our Summer of Second chances campaign, would like spotlight one of them – John Killmaster of Killmaster State Farm.
Do you have any pets of your own?
Yes we have 2 mix breeds Gracie and Belle. My wife Natalie, used to work at Thornton animal hospital. While she was working there a man brought in a newborn puppy with eyes still closed and ears shut that had to be bottle fed. It was Natalie’s turn one weekend and we were together and I bottle fed Gracie every 3 hours for the entire weekend. By Monday it was clear that we were keeping her. Belle was also from Thornton, they called Natalie one day to come see her and after visiting she had me come meet her as well and the rest is history.
What motivated you to donate to LCHS?
Both Natalie and I have a special place in our hearts for animals of all kinds. When we moved to Auburn and after becoming an agent I knew that I wanted to help in any way I could. After going to LCHS, we realized how amazing they were and how hard they worked for the animals in our community. It’s never enough, but we try to do everything we can to help them. Everyone that works there is exceptional and they do such an incredible job trying to reach that 100% live release goal.
Have you been involved at LCHS in any other ways?
We try to do as much as we can, but we can do better. Natalie will grab a couple of extra bags of dog food and drop them off whenever she can. Smalls things here and there, sponsoring events, donating money, going by and playing with the dogs occasionally. It’s long overdue, but we are finally doing the training required so we can take dogs out for walks and to be more involved. Natalie also is part of a facebook group that aides in transporting animals cross-country and helps with that whenever possible.
What do you think is the most important service LCHS provides to the community?
Well they obviously do everything they can to help place animals in loving homes, but I believe the most important thing is trying to educate the community on the issue at hand. Spaying and neutering animals would solve so many of the problems we have with overpopulation, but for some reason it’s so hard to get that across to our society in general. Unfortunately, too many people look at animals as property or tools for them to make a profit and not as a member of their family that loves unconditionally. While progress is slow, I do feel like it’s getting better and proper education is definitely helping.
Why did you decide to donate funds to provide a security system at the shelter?
We chose to donate that, when the shelter director let us know that it was a big ticket item that they needed. One big problem is people sometimes know they aren’t doing the right thing, but are embarrassed about the situation. They get an animal they shouldn’t have or are left with a family members pet after a death and instead of trying to find a loving home themselves or giving the animal to the shelter in person they just dump them off in the middle of the night. Sometimes these animals are in horrible condition or on the verge of death and their neglect is apparent. But without a high quality camera system, there is no way to read a license plate or see a face to identify who the person was. Also, with this checked off their list they can use other funds for what’s most important as far as feeding and taking care of the other animals in the facility.
What would you want to tell the community about the LCHS that hasn’t been said before – or bears repeating?
I’m sure all the good things have been said before. Every person there cares deeply and works hard for our animals. The director, T.J. spends so much time and energy managing and especially with the influx of animals lately I know it is exhausting. I guess the main thing I would want to say is that you can help. It doesn’t have to be money and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of time, but just dropping off some food, walking a dog any small act adds up and it DOES help. Also, please spay and neuter your pets, right now they have way too many animals at the facility and in foster and they can’t keep up.
What can the public do to help LCHS?
Spay and neuter your pets. Adopt from a shelter like LCHS instead of buying an animal from a breeder or a store, which most likely buys from breeders. Just like I said above drop off an extra bag of food, walk a dog, even just donating $5 or $10 here and there if enough of us do it, it adds up and it helps.
Weekly Wish: Foster an animal, if only for a short time. Every animal fostered saves the life of another animal that now has a space in the shelter. Contact Foster@leecountyhumane.org or call the shelter at (334)821-3222