Pitching in for adoption: Humane Society auction funds offset fees

Published 6:51 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2013

For 19 years, the Humane Society of Beaufort County has invited animal lovers out for a night of entertainment: heavy hors d’oeuvres and an auction of art and jewelry, merchandise and services from many area businesses. While the event may be fun, the cause is even better — funds from the auction support a spay/neuter program that lowers the cost of local pet adoptions dramatically.

“The money goes predominantly to spay/neuter and what has changed in recent years is that we now assist (monetarily) with every animal that gets adopted from the shelter — and it works,” said Marty Poffenberger, DVM.

The numbers show that assistance has worked: by the end of August, 703 pets had been adopted from the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility this year. At the same time last year, only 436 pets had been adopted from the shelter, according to the Humane Society.

“It’s a good problem to have, but it’s been so successful we have to spend more,” Poffenberger explained. “We feel like we can raise the money, but we can’t always provide the homes for the animals.”

That success means money raised by the Humane Society allows them to do things like further lower pet adoption rates for a month at a time. In June, adoption fees for cats dropped to $25. In October, adoption fees for dogs will be lowered to $40 from $65.

The Humane Society counts on their annual live auction to help shelter animals find new homes. They also count on local artists and merchants to donate items for both silent and live auctions. As the Oct. 19 event approaches, volunteers are out collecting the goods for auction night.

“It’s just as wide a variety of items as you can imagine,” Poffenberger said, adding that downtown Washington merchants and local veterinarians contribute to the cause. “And the local artists are always very supportive.”

The silent auction begins at the Washington Civic Center at 6 p.m., but the real entertainment starts with a live auction at 7 p.m.

“The bidding is the real entertainment for the night — our auctioneer is always really lively,” Poffenberger said.

Poffenberger pointed out those unable to attend are always welcome to join the Humane Society or make a donation to help defray the cost of the event.

Auction tickets are $30 per person and reservations can be made by calling 252-946-1591. Reservations must be made by Oct. 11.