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Raise a glass to our four-legged friends

The spirits will flow freely tonight at Vann’s Bar and Grill when the Liberty Humane Shelter’s annual Pouring-4-Paws fundraiser gets under way at 7 p.m.
Shelter President Sandra Frye said four — possibly five —teams of bartenders will mix cocktails and collect tips, adding much-needed funds to the shelter’s coffer. Tonight’s festivities will include live music and karaoke, and the shelter staff will sell T-shirts.
Frye said she has spoken with workers from other rescue and nonprofit organizations and they all seem to be feeling the pinch right now.
“I don’t think it’s anything unusual for a nonprofit … But with us being animal-related (organization) and not people-related, it seems like we are the low man on the totem pole when people open their pockets, and we need to move up a little bit,” she said.
At one point, the shelter had 11 employees, including part-time workers who assisted on weekends. As staffers left, Frye said, she hasn’t been able to hire new help because she can’t cover the salaries. Money troubles are preventing the shelter from saving more animals from Animal Control, which occupies one half of the shelter’s facility.
“The shelter is not closing. That would be a very last resort and we will do everything other than that,” Frye said. “I don’t know what we’ll do … We’ll go strictly volunteer … We’ll do whatever it takes, but we definitely need to get some funds rolling because right now we are at a place where we are low in all our medical supplies. We’re low on vaccinations and because of that, it’s hard for us to bring in more animals and save animals. I can’t really pull over new animals when I don’t have the proper supplies to care for them. We have 70-something animals already in our no-kill facility right now.”
The animals housed at the shelter are spayed or neutered, micro-chipped and up to date on their shots. Frye said taking in animals without the ability to properly treat them or screen for diseases jeopardizes the health of the pets they already have.
If people would just give a few bucks each, the shelter president said, it would add up.
“But if no one gives or if everybody passes the buck thinking somebody else is going to do it, it’s not going to happen. We need everyone to join in,” she said.
If folks are unable to donate money, Frye said, they have collection cans throughout the county where people can drop their spare change. The shelter also collects aluminum cans and old printer cartridges, which they recycle for money.
The shelter has enough food and blankets to get through the winter, but Frye said they need bleach, dish washing detergent, hand washing soap, floor cleaner and a washing machine.
“We are down to one washing machine so if anybody is upgrading their unit this Christmas, we would like to take their old one. Even if it only lasts us for a few months, we need it,” she said. “But honestly, the main thing we need is funding.”
Frye said the LHS staff will walk in the Christmas Parade and will participate in the county’s holiday programs.
“We are going to be out and about trying to get the word out that we need help,” she said.

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