Valdosta Daily Times

June 2, 2013

Philanthropy and Business: Animal Wellness

Stuart Taylor
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Dog may be man's best friend, as the old saying goes, but man does not always reciprocate the feeling.

That's what lead Charles DeVane to form BARC, a non-profit focusing on pet rescue. After getting the paperwork in order to become a non-profit, DeVane found a group of people who also wanted to start a pet rescue non-profit.

“I had the paperwork, but not the people,” said DeVane. “They had the people, but not the paperwork.”

BARC works to find pets permanent homes. Volunteer foster parents take them in to get them acclimated to living with people and keep them until someone adopts them on a permanent basis.

“A lot of our core volunteers are from Moody Air Force Base...as well as Valdosta State University. If we lost them, we'd be in a fix.”

While the euthanization rate in Lowndes County has fallen since BARC started, it's still at 70-75 percent.

“It's not the fault of the people who are putting the animals down; they're just doing their jobs. It's not an animal problem, it's a people problem.”

While BARC gets a lot of support from individuals like Debbie Rumker—“she's the glue that holds it all together”—it also gets support from local businesses.

Most weekends find BARC at Pet Smart, which they partner with, to tell people about what they do and introduce some of the animals they have up for adoption. BARC averages two adoptions a day; without Pet Smart's partnering with them, that number would be lower. And without the support of other local businesses who host fundraisers, adoption events and donate as well, they wouldn't be able to do what they do.

“It's hard to measure it exactly, the impact they have, but it certainly makes a significant difference.”

Of course, BARC isn't alone. There's also The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County. While they don't take in animals themselves, they still play a big role in animal wellness in the community. On average, the Humane Society provides 75-90 low-cost spaying or neuterings per month. Although they share the Humane Society name, they don't receive any

national funding; they

depend entirely on a mix

of corporate business, small business and individual donations.

“We depend a lot on fundraisers; they help us keep the lights on,” said Candace Wakefield, Operation Coordinator with The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County.“Without their support, the Humane Society would not be able to provide our low-cost spay and neuter program.”

Take Egg and I, the new egg-centric restaurant that's opened on North Ashley. Like many restaurants, Egg and I held a “dry-run” before they officially opened, a day when people were welcome to come and order up anything off the menu. Instead of charging, Egg and I took up donations, raising $3,100 that went to the Humane Society.

In other breakfast related fundraising, there's

Applebee's. This past February, they held a pancake breakfast, selling tickets

for $6 and donating all

of the proceeds to the

Humane Society.

Some businesses give in other ways, like Chancy Drugs. When they held their recent Kids C.A.R.E. Fair, they invited the Humane Society out to talk about their spay and neutering program, to educate both kids and their parents.

It's impossible to list all of the businesses that support the Humane Society. From local car dealerships that make yearly donations to stores that put “doggy banks” at their register for customer donations.

They're also working with Zaxby's, Chick-Fil-A and CiCi's Pizza to plan future events. These events increase the visibility of BARC and the Humane Society, serving to get the word out about what these organizations do.

For more information about BARC, check out their Facebook page or their website www.barchumanesociety.org.

For more information about The Humane Society of Valdosta/Lowndes County's spay and neuter program, visit their website at www.humanesocietyofvaldosta.org or drop by Books-A-Million on June 8, from noon-4 p.m. and talk to Paul Sherman, Spay and Neuter Coordinator for The Humane Society.