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Petco awards local animal shelter $50,000 grant

Volunteers with The Sanctuary at Haafsville as well as cats and dogs they care for, and area residents are benefiting from a grant initiated a year ago by founder Liz Jones.

Dave Mariano, district leader with Petco Foundation, honored the animal shelter at 901 Nestle Way, Breinigsville, on Sept. 14 for how it is using a $50,000 grant awarded to the shelter earlier this year.

Donna Dougherty, with The Sanctuary events and fundraising team, addressed the audience.

“As you know we are a volunteer animal care organization, so the money that is donated goes directly to animal care,” she explained. “The grant was designed to expand our reach in three ways.

“One way was to provide us with the money to do extreme medical care when needed. The second way was to help low-income people keep their animals in their home.”

Dougherty said the third purpose of the grant is to help them trap, neuter and return community cats, formerly called feral cats back into the wild.

“Grant usage to date includes 200-plus community cats in unserved trap, neuter and return areas that have been spayed or neutered,” she stated. “Community cats, when their population is controlled, are a benefit to society because they help control the rodent population. Volunteers then feed the colonies and oversee their welfare.”

Dougherty said 70-plus low-income families have had their pets spayed or neutered, which allows them to qualify to use local animal food banks.

“Extreme medical care has been provided for seriously injured animals,” she stated.

“One example is Teddy, who was abused. His eyes ruptured and were removed. He healed in foster care. He needed a special “head halo” to keep from crashing into walls.”

Dougherty said none of them would be making a difference without this initiative Liz Jones started.

Mariano said he was there on behalf of Petco to recognize the lifesav- ing work of The Sanctuary at Haafsville.

“First of all the presence here of all the volunteers is just amazing,” he stated. “Thank you for all your life saving work.”

Mariano said the Petco Foundation collects donations at the registers in all their stores.

“When a customer makes a donation, that donation is combined with millions of others across the country, enabling us to help organizations that truly represent the best in life saving efforts and things that we are able to accomplish,” he stated. “So with that, we are super proud today to recognize your life saving efforts with a life saving grant of $50,000 to The Sanctuary at Haafsville.”

“Thank you very much for all your life saving efforts,” he added.

Martha Kahan, president of No Nonsense Neutering, Allentown, also spoke at the presentation about her organization’s mission and the grant.

She said one of their main purposes is to provide affordable spay and neutering for cats and dogs.

Kahan said over the last three years No Nonsense Neutering has gone to the food banks and offered free spaying and neutering for cats and dogs, so the families could get free food from the animal food banks.

“The goal for all of us is to keep these animals in their homes rather than turn them over because they (families) can’t feed them,” she stated. “To date we have done 20 food bank cats and dogs.”

She said the second feature of No Nonsense Neutering mission is to work with partners, like The Sanctuary.

“It is rescues and shelters who need to make sure the animals they adopt are fixed and vaccinated,” Kahan added. “The Sanctuary at Haafsville has been with us since 2010.”

Kahan said the third feature of their mission statement is community cats, which are in every community.

“Communities are struggling because we need to come up with a way to be kind, but they (community cats) need to be fixed and vaccinated,” Kahan said. “It is because of you we can do the community cats that we are doing.”

“When this grant was written a year ago, Liz Jones, who wrote the grant called me and said, ‘How can we most use this grant in the areas other than for medical needs here at the Sanctuary,’” Kahan stated.

“We identified the Zip codes in the City of Allentown for feral cats.”

She said there was a great need in these areas and very little was being done.

The folks were struggling with feral cats in these areas, Kahan stated.

“The Sanctuary has set the pace here (with trap, neuter and release), so you need to be recognized for what you are doing,” Kahan stated. “Thank you so much.”

PRESS PHOTOS BY SUSAN BRYANTDave Mariano, district leader with Petco Foundation, awarded Donna Dougherty, of The Sanctuary at Haafsville events and fundraising team, Sept. 14 with a large copy of the $50,000 grant presented to the animal shelter earlier this year.