Berkshire Humane Society seeks to raise $1. 5 million endowment, expand programming, fund facility upgrades – WAMC

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The “Forever Family” campaign seeks to raise a $1. 5 million diathesis for the private nonprofit animal shelter.

“What we learned from COVID is that we are certainly an organization that is essential to this community. And I think what we realized through COVID is we want to make sure all of us secure our future. So creating an endowment is really solidifying and securing our place right here in the Berkshires as the number one place to go if you need help for your pet, ” said Executive Director John Perreault. “We really haven’t had a campaign since we all built the building and moved in July of 2003. So this is something that’s long overdue. ”

The campaign is accompanied by improvements to the shelter’s facilities.

“Late last fall, we merged with the local trap, neuter, return and release organization, ” Perreault told WAMC. “It was an all-volunteer group known as Animal Dreams, and they’ve been operating out of our facility, but they operate out of a shed that’s on our property. Therefore we’re going to be enclosing our own loading dock and bringing their services right inside of our building and giving them fresh water, which they don’t have right now, and a proper way to clean. ”

The new space for the program will expand its ability to operate.

“That’ll be able to help 20% more community cats that are out there with nobody caring for them, or making sure for that the people are caring for them that these cats are no longer reproducing and growing a problem, ” said Perreault.

Other physical plans include creating a centralized medical suite for animal exams and more emergency lodging for cats.

“In 2015, we did a good addition here as a SafePet room for people in crisis situations, ” said Perreault. “But it was really a kennel, and it was really geared towards canines, and so, many of our SafePet clients happen to be felines. We’ll be creating a new space specifically to house people in problems situations, cats. We’re going to become creating a new grooming area, some additional cat holding. ”

Another campaign goal is to increase the shelter’s offerings with programs like family dog school and animal welfare education in the face of affordability and accessibility challenges.

“Our veterinary community right now is shrinking, and veterinarians are leaving the field, inch said Perreault. “Not many are going into it. And there’s really a shortage of veterinarians nationwide, and I think we’re starting to experience it here. So one of the things we’re going to be trying to grow, a program, is to provide more low cost clinics out there for people that need some of the basic stuff that right now can’t get into the veterinarians just because of the amount of people that just can’t find that service because they’re so busy. ”

Perreault stresses that providing the best animal care possible is at the heart of Berkshire Humane Society’s new fundraiser.

“We’re hoping to double the amount of canines that we’re able to help through family dog school, ” he told WAMC. “And then right now, we may assist a couple of hundred people via low cost clinics in targeted neighborhoods, and we’re looking to quadruple that it least, because we see that there’s going to be a huge need available in the coming years for people to have access to affordable vet care. ”

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