Couple donate to upgrade shelter

Published 6:04 pm Friday, May 18, 2012

Dr. Marty Poffenberger (left), president of the Beaufort County Humane Society, accepts $20,000 from Charlotte and Steve Anastasion of Chocowinity to complete upgrades at the county’s animal shelter as Jim Chrisman (second from left), Beaufort County finance director, observes. (Submitted Photo/Ginny Simkowiak)

Steve and Charlotte Anastasion of Chocowinity donated $20,000 to the Beaufort County Humane Society on Wednesday to support an upgrade to the cat shelter at the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility.

In a small ceremony at the Humane Society’s monthly board meeting, the Anastasions presented the funds to Dr. Marty Poffenberger, a veterinarian and president of the Humane Society. Beaufort County Finance Director Jim Chrisman participated in the exchange.

“I know every time I come out to this facility and see how good it looks that you all are the reason why,” Chrisman told the Anastasions and their board members following the ceremony. “It’s not only the care you give, but the rescues you make. The county wishes it could do more, and we really appreciate it. We don’t thank you enough. The (Beaufort County) commissioners send their thanks to you all for your kind donations,” Chrisman said.

“Steve and Charlotte, this is your biggest financial gift but you have spent lots of hours volunteering with the animals and on the board. We really do appreciate all the volunteer work you have done,” Poffenberger said as attendees applauded.
It’s the Anastasions’ love for animals that prompted them to make the gift.

“We like animals, and we feel sorry for the strays and those that don’t have a home,” Steve Anastasion said.

Charlotte Anastasion echoed those sentiments.

“It’s our love of animals. Ever since I was a kid, I have volunteered at animal shelters. Everyone should do something (for the animals). I am trying to help a little and make people aware that animals need help, too. I feel it’s something I need to do,” she said.

The money will be used to enclose a screened, open room behind the existing cat shelter. The room had been used in the past as a holding area for cats during cleaning and to give them a little fresh air, Poffenberger said.

Shelter administrators and Humane Society volunteers recently determined there is a significant need for an isolation area for incoming cats or cats that get sick while in the shelter.

“It’s a stressful time (coming in to the shelter). We needed an enclosed space with separate heating and air conditioning and ventilation to keep sick animals separate and a place where the cats can’t hear (the nearby) dogs,” Poffenberger said.

“(The Anastasions) had become aware of our concerns for our cats. If they were sneezing or sick, we had no place to isolate them,” she said.

The owners of four cats, the Anastasions came to the rescue.

“We had talked before to the director about this. They told us the problem and what the solution was and we told them we would foot the bill,” Steve Anastasion said.

“It’s very important to me. One of the most important things in my life — to help protect the animals,” Charlotte Anastasion said.