Saving Denton animals one pet at a time

Saving Denton animals one pet at a time

Saving Denton animals one pet at a time
July 20
11:05 2017

The world can be a scary place for a pet in need of a home.

Fortunately, more Denton area animals are taken in each day and finding their forever homes due to the efforts of a Denton foundation that advocates for animals that can’t speak for themselves.

The Denton Animal Support Foundation was founded in July 2006 as a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide financial support to shelter pets, educate the public on the caring and keeping of pets and incite action on saving the pets of Denton.

“We wanted to save more animals and we wanted to approach it from the standpoint of what was the best way to reach the most animals and save the most we could,” co-founder Bette Sherman said.

The foundation has contributed greatly to providing the best possible care for pets in need throughout its 11 years of service.

Sherman and co-founder Pete Kamp were driven by the desire to help fund the construction of a new animal shelter to replace the previous 30-year-old facility. They began the project with a team of volunteers and a list of fundraising campaigns aimed at supporting an emergency medical program and adoption program at the shelter.

The plan involved an approximately two-year capital campaign and a partnership with Denton to raise money for the construction of the new shelter. The foundation raised over $2 million during Phase 1 of the campaign, which funded the creation of the Linda McNatt Animal Care and Adoption Center. The center is the section of the shelter that houses a veterinary clinic, animal care area and adoption center.

The foundation continues to raise money for the animal shelter, but also works with other nonprofit organizations in the community in order to continue fundraising and education efforts.

One organization is Safe Haven, a program that partners with Denton County Friends of the Family and the Denton Police Department to provide funding for private kennels and housing for the pets of victims of domestic violence.

“There is research that says about 70 percent of women in violent situations have pets and over 40 percent will not leave the violent situation because their pets will be harmed or killed,” Sherman said. “We provide an alternative for those women and children to leave violent situations by housing their pets while they are being sheltered.”

While the foundation doesn’t host many of its own events, many organizations and groups in the community host events for the foundation.

Hogs for Paws, a motorcycle rescue ride and rally, was held in May and the Denton Animal Support Foundation was one of four organizations to benefit from the funds raised.

The Mulberry Street Cantina held a queso eating contest in June, allowing customers to vote on their favorite queso from various local bars and restaurants. Proceeds raised were donated to the foundation.

“We raised money by selling bags of chips at the door for $5, and if you bought a bag of chips, that gave you the ability to vote,” general manager and owner Jeff Doyle said. “We raised about $930. It was a big success for the [foundation] for sure.”

The support from other organizations in the community is valuable and contributes to the growth of the foundation. These events not only help the foundation thrive, but they also provide more opportunities for pets to benefit from a healthy, happy life.

“We’re a tiny little organization,” she said. “We have one part-time staff person, an office manager and the rest of us are volunteers. So when people want to do events for us, we’re thrilled.”

The foundation has also partnered with Denton County Meals on Wheels for a program called Senior Paws for Pets, a pet food delivery program that provides monthly pet food supplements to clients who have to share their meals with their pets.

Deb Robertson, the executive director of SPAN, Inc. and Meals on Wheels, works alongside Sherman so the groups can support each cause and lift up their own.

“They kind of provide us with a fail safe if and when we don’t have efficient monetary or pet food donations,” Robertson said. “They have been willing to support us with grants to help us provide monthly donations. It’s just really helped us know in case of [low donations] we can still meet our program commitments.”

The foundation hopes this assistance can allow the home-bound pet owners of Denton to be able to effectively care for both themselves and their pets.

“The mission there is we want people to be able to keep their pets at home,” Sherman said. “The more we are able to do, the less that are surrendered to the shelter.”

While fundraising is an important part of the foundation, education is another vital tool to further the foundation’s mission.

During the summer, the shelter tends to be full because of various factors, including the summer heat, college students going home and some people just not having the time to care for a pet while working throughout the summer.

“[It’s important to] learn to care for pets and what the issues are surrounding the abandonment of pets, because it’s a growing issue,” Sherman said. “As the issues get bigger, the more pets get abandoned so we are trying to get at that issue in a number of ways.”

The foundation’s education committee presents programs at several Denton elementary schools, engaging around 1,500 students per year with puppets and coloring books to teach animal awareness, care and safety.

The committee also reaches out to Denton service groups to discuss the issues surrounding animal abandonment and controlling the animal population.

In its 11 years of service, the foundation has done great work in educating the community, but its biggest achievement has been teaching the importance of animals by utilizing the new shelter, Sherman said.

“Our one major [lasting] item so far was the advocacy and the leadership and the partnership with the city of Denton in getting the new shelter built,” Sherman said. “We feel that is our legacy to the community.”

The efforts of the foundation have increased the adoption rate and transformed the shelter to a happy place for pets.

Since the shelter can become especially full during the summer months, the new facility allows for each animal to be properly taken care of. A majority of the people at the animal shelter are volunteers, so providing a space that’s beneficial for both the animals and volunteers is a plus.

“The shelter is big enough to handle the inflow of animals, get them adopted fast enough and get them treated,” she said. “We’re down to saving everything that can be saved.”

Though it seems as if the work is never done, Sherman hopes the foundation can continue to serve its mission long into the future.

“My hope is that the organization will continue its legacy of saving more Denton pets,” Sherman said.

Featured Image: Inside the adoption center of the Linda Mcnatt Denton Shelter. It’s funded through the Denton Animal Support Foundation. Courtesy | dentonasf.com

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Dionecia Petit

Dionecia Petit

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