07/10/13 — Debut event nets funds for animal charities

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Debut event nets funds for animal charities

By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 10, 2013 1:46 PM

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The Heritage Dance Foundation presents a check from the Animals in Wonderland event. Pictured are, from left: Jennifer Moye, chairwoman for the event; Debbie Grady, chairwoman for fundraisers for the Heritage Dance Foundation; Suzi Wharton, Humane Society vice president; and Barrett Parker, secretary of the Humane Society.

The Wayne County Humane Society will use a $4,000 donation from the Heritage Dance Foundation for its spay and neuter program. The Foundation also has donated 1,000 pounds of dog food for the Humane Society's pet food pantry.

"That was part of the funds that were raised in our Animals in Wonderland event held on March 30 at the Paramount Theatre," said Debbie Hall Grady, Heritage Dance Foundation fundraising and scholarships chairman. "We also will be awarding $6,400 to the Wayne County animal shelter.

"We wanted to build a couple of runs (at the shelter) for the animals because at this time there is no way to let them out without a person walking them. That is difficult to do with the staff they have. Some of the money they want to use for spaying and neutering also."

Animals in Wonderland included a vendors event and a play written by Dr. Charles Zwerling, who founded the Heritage Dance Foundation.

The next Animals in Wonderland charity event is planned for Sept. 6, 2014, and will once again benefit the Humane Society and Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center.

"We really feel the potential is there to double what we did this year," Mrs. Grady said. "This year, we just happened to pick the weekend in March that just happened to be Easter. So a lot of people were out of town because children were out of school. So we wanted to make sure we planned the event for 2014 on a weekend when everybody is home and not on vacation.

"The vendor event and the shows at the Paramount were for entertainment, but also for education and to make people aware of not just what the Humane Society and animal shelter are doing, but there were other rescue groups that were present that day. So it was just a great opportunity to educate our public."

The 2014 event will once again include the plays at the Paramount Theatre at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The hours for the vendor event will be longer, lasting from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and could include a band, Mrs. Grady said.

More groups have already called and want to participate, she said.

The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation of Durham gave a $2,500 donation that helped defray costs for the March event. Funds were also raised by selling ads in the play program.

Unfortunately, many animals are euthanized in the county, Mrs. Grady said. One way to help control the dog and cat population explosion is spaying and neutering, she said. The March event was held to raise funds to help in that area.

Suzi Wharton, Humane Society vice president, said that providing a subsidized spay and neuter program for low- and fixed-income was a driving reason to organize the local chapter.

"They have to apply once a month," she said. "If they are approved, they get to choose their vet from our list, which all of the local Wayne County vets participate in our program."

In 2012, Humane Society funding helped to spay 40 cats and 82 dogs and to neuter 28 cats and 61 dogs at a cost of $11,667.

Through April of this year, 14 cats have been spayed, nine neutered, and 24 dogs spayed and 14 neutered at a cost of $3,540.

The Humane Society also operates a pet food pantry.

"It is an application process, just like our spay/neuter program," said Barrett Parker, Humane Society secretary. "Low-income families or families who need assistance feeding their animals can come and get approved and then they can come once a month to receive food for their animals, cat or dog.

"It is a very successful program. We have just gone to the application process. This month (June) was actually our first distribution where the families had to be pre-approved. We had approximately 50 families represented, which is incredible. So yes, it is very successful and people are very appreciative."

Applicants are required to provide income information and must reapply on an annual basis.

Donations of dry or canned dog and/or cat food are accepted, she said. Monetary donations are accepted as well and if for food should be noted as such.

Drop-offs locations included Pet Supplies Plus, Circle Tire and Gas, Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center (note that it is for the Humane Society) and Prudential The McMillen Real Estate Group.

For more information about the benefit, contact Mrs. Grady at 919-222-8320 or send email to debbiegrady@att.net. For more information about the Humane Society send an email to wchshelper@live.com. The Humane Society also has a Facebook page.