The Humane Educational Society of Chattanooga, which in North Hamilton County currently provides services to Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy and Lakesite as well as all unincorporated areas, hopes to raise $90,000 this week through two separate fundraising events. The first is Paws for the Cause at the Mill Thursday, Oct. 6, followed by Paws in the Park at Baylor School Sunday, Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"Almost one-third of our budget comes from public avenues," said HES Executive Director Guy Bilyeu of HES' $1 million budget.
The rest comes from the private sector, which makes events such as these so important for the continuation of services provided by HES. With Red Bank and Soddy-Daisy considering dropping HES as their animal services provider, private funding may become even more critical.
Soddy-Daisy's contract with HES is slightly more than $58,000, according to Burt Johnson, finance director and recorder for the city of Soddy-Daisy. Red Bank's contract is worth $63,000 annually.
Services provided by HES include sheltering lost and abandoned animals, including inoculations for each animal entering the shelter at a cost of $80,000 per year. HES also provides public education and low cost spay and neuter programs, as well as coordinating foster care for pets waiting for permanent homes and community outreach programs such as pet therapy for seniors.
HES also offers it "Feed the Animals" program, which helps those who have trouble buying food for their pets in a difficult economic climate. This program alone claims $40,000 in funds annually, he said.
"The more programs we create, the more expensive it is," said Bilyeu.
Paws for the Cause, which is organized in conjunction with Keller Williams of Chattanooga, began three years ago when M & M Mars closed its Cleveland distribution center. The company, which manufactures Pedigree pet food, had previously donated all of the food for animals at the shelter, he said.
"Since then, we've had to pay for our own food," said Bilyeu, which costs HES $52,000 a year.
The event at the Mill features a silent auction. Tickets are $75 and must be purchased in advance online at www.pawsforthecause.info or by calling Keller Williams at 664-1900.
He said he hopes Paws in the Park, now in its 11th year, will draw in around $70,000 this year.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their dogs to the event and enter competitions such as best costume, fastest eater and most passionate kisser. Admission ranges from $15 to $50.
Bilyeu said recent improvements at HES include glass rooms built to replace all chain-link fences in the shelter, and the creation of a free-roaming room for cats with a jungle theme featuring a waterfall is currently under way.
To find out how to contribute to HES or for event details call 624-5302 or visit the organization's website.