Central Missouri Humane Society faces fundraising shortage

Friday, September 17, 2010 | 6:47 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Central Missouri Humane Society will host a party on Saturday to welcome the public to its newly renovated shelter.

The humane society planned the open house to showcase its new digs. The adoptable animals are now rid of their rattling chain link fences, noisy hallways and concrete floors. Improvements to the facility include pens with tiled floors, white painted walls and glass doors.

Renovations were provided by as the prize in an online contest, which the humane society won in April 2009. The humane society did not receive any monetary funding, just the benefit of improved facilities.

"Contracts were between Zootoo and the contractors, but for insurance purposes the renovations were valued at approximately $600,000," Pam Pearn, the shelter's operations coordinator, said.

Despite the upgrades, the shelter's executive director said the facility is still facing budget issues.

"We were at 25 percent through July of our goal for the year of $135,000," Alan Allert, the shelter's executive director, said.

The funding shortages continue to be a problem because the contest prize did not subsidize the shelter's day-to-day operations, Pearn said.

"We are taking in 25-35 animals a day, six days a week, providing care that was not covered by the Zootoo contest," she said. "Our costs for operating are still the same."

Despite its financial worries, the humane society decided to host the open house Saturday as a way to thank the community for its support and to encourage people to visit the new facilities.

“We really want a lot of people to come on Saturday. We want them to see the wonderful job that was done,” Allison Toth, the shelter's relations coordinator, said.

Animals will still be up for adoption during the festivities, and attendees can give donations and tour the new facilities.

“We would like to get some donations, but this is also a big thank you,” Toth said.

Even with the improvements, the facility hasn't been completely remodeled. The stray dog pens have not been upgraded, and are far noisier, dirtier and smellier than the new pens. The storage shed at the facility is also overflowing and overrun with mice.

"The old pens, as we call them, are a 1960s-style pen and need to be upgraded," said Pearn.

The humane society also hosted a VIP party for those directly involved with the project Thursday night.

This Saturday's open house will be held from 1-4 p.m. at the Central Missouri Humane Society, 616 Big Bear Blvd. in Columbia.

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John Schultz September 18, 2010 | 10:51 a.m.

So if the ZooToo contest offered up to a million dollars in renovations, why weren't the shed or stray pens addressed at the same time?

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