BRATTLEBORO -- To care for the hundreds of animals at the Windham County Humane Society, nothing may be more important than funding.
To date, the WCHS has spent more than $10,000 on medical care for animals, $2,500 more than this time last year, said Executive Director Annie Guion.
Recently one dog needed $1,800 worth of medical attention to return it to good health after it arrived at the shelter having lived in "deplorable conditions," she said.
One of the organization’s biggest fundraisers comes every year in September with the annual Walk for Animals, a one-mile trek through downtown Brattleboro.
"As any pet owner knows, it takes money to provide loving care for pets," Guion said. "Close to 700 animals come through our doors each year, many of them needing extra veterinary care due to neglect. Those bills add up. We couldn’t do what we do without the help of the community."
On Saturday, Sept. 22, pet owners and animal lovers are encouraged to participate in the walk, which begins at 10 a.m., with registration an hour before.
The course begins at the Brattleboro Common and continues down Main Street to the Brattleboro Food Co-op and back.
Guion said the cost of medicines for the humane society have increased by $5,000 as the organization implemented the Pet Care Assistance Program for treatments for fleas and ticks and wormer and vaccines for free or at cost to income eligible
Keri Roberts, the shelter’s animal care manager, said monthly flea treatments can make a huge difference for a pet and its humans.
"There’s a lot of guilt and stress when your pet is suffering," she said. "We want to help in that situation."
Guion said there are millions of animals being euthanized every year in America and the Pet Care Assistance Program is working to reverse that trend by helping pet owners keep their animals as opposed to surrendering them to a shelter.
"Our animals are handled and loved many times a day by staff and volunteers, but it’s still no substitute for a home," said Anna Mefferd, a canine specialist. "We always look to see if there’s any way we can help an owner keep their pet."
Any walker who raises $50 or more by Sept. 22 will be given a T-shirt and every participant in the annual walk will be given an ice cream cone from Walpole Creamery and all well-behaved dogs on leashes will be given treats, Guion said.
Prizes, including an iPod Touch from Brown Computers and a gift certificate for dinner from the Putney Inn will be awarded to the walkers who raise the most money.
The walk is also sponsored by White Rose Pet Memorials, Brattleboro Subaru and the Vermont, New Hampshire and Brattleboro Veterinary Clinics.
For more information about the walk or to create a pledge team, visit www.wchs4pets.org.
Josh Stilts can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 273.