Cherokee County Humane Society: Taking every opportunity to help save lives

By OLIVIA HARPER

KENNESAW, Ga. — The Cherokee County Humane Society has a connected thrift store, holds multiple fundraising events, provides foster care for animals and offers various volunteer opportunities all in order to save the lives of animals who would otherwise be abandoned or euthanized.

The humane society is a nonprofit organization that houses many animals, including 60 cats currently, which the general manager, Ottis Moore, said is too many. All of these cats require medical treatment, vaccines, spay/neutering and regular upkeep, which all come at a price. The thrift store and fundraising events make it possible to provide these animal with a comfortable and temporary home where they are later put up for adoption.

“The thrift store revenue averages about $20,000 a month,” said Moore.

Ottis Moore, Cherokee County Human Society general manager
Ottis Moore, Cherokee County Human Society general manager

He also stressed that, while that number seems high, so are expenses. This revenue helps to pay the four staff members who are paid between nine and 10 dollars an hour to be dependable workers due to the lack of volunteers, says Moore.

The remaining gross profit goes toward workers comp, the three high-mileage vehicles, and various supplies. After all of that is paid, the remaining net profit goes directly to the upkeep of the animals. Moore said this includes medical assistance program, the spay/neuter program, and the mobile veterinarian office that comes every other Monday and Tuesday.

Items sold in the thrift store come entirely from donations made by the public. A pick-up service is provided for big stuff such as furniture and appliances, Moore said. All types of house-hold items can be donated to the thrift store including clothes, old sheets for the animals, books, jewelry, anything kitchen related, etc., and all donations are tax deductible.

Fundraising events are another huge way that the Humane Society raises money for the animals’ expenses. These events are held quarterly and the next big one is a silent auction and wine tasting. The 11th annual fundraiser will be held on Nov. 7 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at The Terrace at BridgeMill Athletic Club. This catered event costs $25, Moore said, and all proceeds go to the animals’ care.

The foster care program is one of the most heart-warming accommodations that the Cherokee County Humane Society offers.

Leann Sarner, a foster parent who has been working for two years, said that her main responsibility is taking kittens that are sick and nursing them back to health.

“Usually, they have a better chance of recovering in a foster home than they do if they are in with a bunch of sick babies because we do keep them more separate,” Sarner said.

Leann Sarner, pet foster parent
Leann Sarner, pet foster parent

At one point she was doctoring 40 cats at once due to an infection that was going around other humane societies in the area. Anybody can be a foster parent as long as you have the time and space, Sarner said.

The Cherokee County Humane Society is constantly in need of more volunteers. Moore said that even with court-appointed community service workers, there is always more work to be done.

The thrift store is just one place that needs volunteer workers to help organize clothes and put merchandise where it belongs. The cat room is definitely where most of the work lies, Moore said, and this work includes giving medicine, feeding, and cleaning cages. However, simply coming in to give the animals some love is enough to change the life of an animal in need.

Out-of-store adoptions also need volunteers to help show off animals that are next in line for euthanasia. Moore said these adoption days occur every Saturday and Sunday at the PetSmart on Highway 92, Barrett Parkway, and the Canton locations as well as the Petco on Highway 41.

The Cherokee County Humane Society had 1,340 animals adopted out in 2014 and nearly 1,400 already in 2015, Moore said.

“There are only so many homes and there’s never enough,” Moore said. “All sorts of bad things happen to free animals because they’re saying this animal doesn’t have any worth. I submit that every animal has value.”

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