A local animal rescue is thanking its supporters after several rallied around the shelter to help rescue it from an unexpectedly large expense.
The Protecting Animal Welfare Society, of Jacksonville, most commonly known as P.A.W.S., was the benefactor of a Go Fund Me account this month after one of the members made an appeal on Facebook for help.
The shelter was hit with a utility bill from Ameren Illinois of over $2,000.00 this month. Lisa Jackson of PAWS says, she anticipated a higher bill with inflation wreaking havoc on everyone’s monthly budgets, but she was still shocked when it came in.
“As everyone is experiencing, it was about double what we were used to. I’d taken a picture of it and posted it to a private group that our volunteers have. One of the volunteers who has access to the page asked if it was alright if she could make a post about it and try and get some help. She did and as always the PAWS supporters are amazing and more than covered the bill and will be able to help us with next month’s bill even.”
The fund raised over $3,400.00 for the non-profit animal rescue to help with utilities as the price of electricity has skyrocketed this summer.
The rescue is a 501-c3 non-profit, but that only means that donations to the group are tax exempt for the donor and excludes the group from paying taxes on items they purchase for the rescue.
Jackson says PAWS has been criticized by some in the past for the adoption fees they charge, $200.00 for dogs and $75.00 for a cat on average. She says the fees are not there to make a profit but are in place to help keep the shelter afloat and in many cases, the fees aren’t enough to cover the expense for the animal being adopted as many come to the shelter with existing health issues.
“Broken limbs or limbs that need amputated, an eye that needs removed or a mammary tumor or skin conditions, the list is endless that require more than their adoptions fees are. It’s kinda like going to Walmart I guess. Why does Walmart charge twenty dollars for this pair of jeans but when you go to Bergners or a big name store they charge fifty dollars for a pair of jeans? We have to figure out a way to balance things out in order to get all the bills covered so we are able to keep the doors open.”
Jackson says on top of any health problems an animal may have when they come into PAWS, every animal that leaves the shelter is spayed or neutered before they can be adopted, and receives heartworm and flea prevention each month.
She says that combined with the general upkeep of both the animals and the facility makes for a tight budget each month.
Jackson says another issue the shelter is facing currently is a lack of veterinarians in the area, with several retiring over the last few years without another vet coming in to take its place.
She says overall things are going pretty well at the rescue although adoptions have been very noticeably down this year over previous years. Something she thinks could be partially due to a knee-jerk effect from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Adoptions have slowed down, but everybody’s adoptions have slowed down. It’s been hard on rescues lately and everybody’s feeling it. I think a lot of people are off gallivanting this summer because Covid kept them at home for so long. Due to that it’s my feelings that, that’s why adoptions aren’t like they used to be, or why animals that were adopted during Covid are coming back. So we aren’t adopting out animals like we used to.”
Despite the challenges, Jackson says PAWS continues to grow with more animals coming into the shelter each week. She says the group has been fighting a persistent leaky roof on one of the main buildings at the facility, and she’s looking to try and set funding aside to get the shelter into a new building to have everything under one roof.
Next month will also see the return of the PAWS annual fundraiser event at the facility. Jackson says after two years without due to the pandemic, the annual open house fundraiser is returning on September 24th with an array of activities such as food, music, kids’ activities, and a silent auction.
The event will be held at PAWS located at 400 West Walnut Street in Jacksonville, on Saturday, September 24th beginning at noon with the silent auction beginning at 4:00 pm.
PAWS is always looking for volunteers as much as donations to help keep the shelter running. For more information on how to adopt a pet, donate time or funds to the rescue, you can contact PAWS at 217-243-7297, by sending them a message via the PAWS Facebook page, or by stopping into the facility when they are open to the public between the hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm every Friday and Saturday.