JOHNSTOWN - The Regional Animal Shelter organization is attempting to reach its goal of raising $250,000 to build a larger shelter in the town while it continues to operate a small facility for animals in Gloversville.
Upcoming fundraisers for the group include a comedy night Thursday and a bowling event next month.
The animal shelter group has been seeking grants in support of its mission to reduce the local stray-animal population, and it has been participating in spay and neuter programs and promoting education, training and public awareness.
"Things are going wonderfully," board member Renee Earl said. "In the short time we have been open [in Gloversville], which was the middle of May last year, we have managed to get pretty much all of the dogs adopted or re-united with their families. That right there speaks toward the success."
The shelter has eight kennels for dogs with an outdoor enclosed space that is fenced in and includes a storage shed.
The 16-by-36-foot building had been vacant and unused for years on city property south of the Transit Building off West Fulton Street. In an arrangement with the city, the Regional Animal Shelter group finished the shelter and runs it for the city.
The shelter was able to get started because former city Councilwoman Cynthia Morey secured a $20,000 anonymous donation in 2007 to start the project, which at first was intended to be used by the city animal control officer. The city built the structure with the donation and about $10,000 worth of labor provided by the Department of Public Works.
The city and the shelter group have a four-year lease agreement under which the group leases kennel space to the city for $1 per year and the city rent the building to the group for $1 per year.
The shelter operates daily with the help of 12 regular volunteers. It pays about $1,000 per month to feed, shelter and meet the needs of the animals at the shelter, Earl said. That doesn't include veterinary services.
The shelter group continues to raise money for its future shelter on 26 acres it owns on Maple Avenue in Johnstown.
Earl would not say how much the shelter group has raised toward its $250,000 goal, but she said it has continued to make steady progress since the effort began in 2002.
Last year, the Gloversville Common Council set the fee to recover a lost dog at $10 for the first incident, $20 for the second and $30 for the third.
The money from the fee goes toward feeding and caring for the dog while it is at the shelter.
Previously, the city paid fees to house each stray dog at a contracted veterinarian's office.
Now, shelter volunteers look after dogs as long as they aren't sick or dangerous. The shelter does not yet have the capacity to house cats, but Earl said when the larger shelter is built, it will include a cat area.
"We are going to have an entire area for cats, but right now we just don't have the room," Earl said.
However, she said the shelter will help find homes for cats with courtesy postings on Facebook and Petfinder.
The new facility will allow the shelter to serve Fulton, Hamilton and Montgomery counties, Earl said.
The Regional Animal Shelter has partnered with Camp Bow Wow to conduct the Bow Wow Comedy Night on Thursday at the Comedy Works, 500 Northern Blvd., Albany. The event will feature stand-up comedian Kevin Downey Jr., prize raffles, a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the show will begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets cost $30 per person, and $20 from each ticket will support the shelter organization of the purchaser's choice.
Thursday's event is expected to raise $5,000 in total, but the amount each shelter and rescue organization raises will be based on ticket sales.
The local shelter became involved with the comedy event after the Camp Bow Wow organizer Samuel Dearth met Earl at the Bow Wow Buddies Run/Walk in October.
The two decided a comedy event would be a terrific fundraiser for Regional Animal Shelter to get involved in, Dearth said.
"Funding is critical to cover medical bills, transportation expenses, supplies, and food for rescued animals," Dearth said. "An equally daunting challenge is the lack of manpower and experience to host fun and engaging fundraising events. The comedy series is designed to supplement fundraising efforts for Capital Region animal shelters and rescue groups."
The shelter will continue its fundraising efforts with a Strikes for Strays bowling event March 10 from noon to 3 p.m. at Arterial Lanes. The cost of $15 per person will include three games and shoe rental.
On March 16, the shelter will participate in the Sacandaga Sun Holistic and Animal Wellness Expo at the River Front Center in Amsterdam from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Anyone interested in volunteering can visit the Regional Animal Shelter's Facebook page or its website, at www.regionalanimalshelter.org.
Levi Pascher can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.