When the Columbus Lowndes Humane Society was inundated with newly arrived abandoned/stray pets — 100 in the first two weeks of December — the community responded in a big way.
“We had a lot of people come in, either to make a donation or to adopt,” CLHS director Karen Johnwick said. “We had 16 adoptions, which is great. Sixteen adoptions means 16 empty kennels.”
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that those kennels do not stay empty and while the crisis has passed, the CLHS is not out of the woods as the new year begins.
“In mid-December, we were at our capacity of 150 kennels,” Johnwick said. “We’re not that full now, but we’re still pretty crowded. The kennels that open up usually fill up pretty fast.”
That’s pretty much the status quo at the facility, Johnwick said.
While Johnwick appreciates how the community responded during December’s crisis, the reality is CLHS generally finds itself in a crunch, not only in terms of kennel space but in supplies and money required to house and care for the pets it takes in.
“We would love to have people donate on a regular basis,” Johnwick says, “because every month we face the same issues. We do have a group of about 15 people that make a donation every month, anywhere from $25 to $100 and they are very regular about doing that. We’d love to see more people do that. Every dollar helps.”
Johnwick said many of the needs are constant throughout the year — food, cat litter, paper towels and dish and laundry detergent.
In winter, another challenge emerges.
“The heating bill can run up to as much as $2,000 if we’re not careful,” Johnwick says. “That’s why things people don’t think about — say laundry detergent — are important. We try to keep the heating costs down by providing blankets and towels. That means we are always washing the blankets and towels, so that’s why we always need laundry detergent this time of year.
“We are very careful about how we spend our money because what we spend on one thing may mean not having money to spend on something else.”
Johnwick encourages residents to visit the CLHS website at clhumanesociety.org and click on the “How To Help” link.
You can also call the CLHS at 327-3107 or visit the facility at 50 Airline Road in Columbus.
Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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