Dogs’ day


More than 400 people recently had a ball raising money to help build the Jackson County Dog Shelter.

The first Fur Ball, a night of dinner, dancing, door prizes and live and silent auctions, brought in nearly $24,000.

Combine that with the more than $27,000 that already had been raised, and now $150,000 is needed by February to begin construction of the shelter, which will be located behind the Jackson County Jail in Brownstown.

Debbie Hackman, who is leading the charge for the new shelter, said the goal was to raise $10,000 during the first Fur Ball, which was March 5 at Pewter Hall in Brownstown. The 20-member shelter committee, which is all volunteers, sold 442 tickets in a month’s time.

“We have a great committee. They did a wonderful job,” Hackman said. “That’s what you need. You need people from different aspects of life to touch different parts of the community.”

Hackman said she also appreciates Pewter Hall for hosting the event, the nine members of the TOG Band for donating their time and the people who provided items for door prizes and the auctions.

“It was a lot of little things that came together,” she said. “We had I don’t know how many tables of silent auction items. It was $25 dollars here and $50 there, but it added up to $24,000. … That’s what it takes, is everybody working just a little bit together, and I think we had fun. I think everybody had a good time.”

In February 2015, Hackman received a variance from the county board of zoning appeals for a low-kill shelter to be built on county-owned property behind the jail. The OK was given on the condition that there be a building permit issued and construction would begin within two years.

A committee was formed to come up with ways to raise money. GoFundMe and YouCaring online accounts and a tax-deductible fund at the Community Foundation of Jackson County were established. Also, granite plaques, walkway bricks and lobby/adoption room blocks became available for donations ranging from $125 to $1,500.

Donations trickled in at first, and Hackman hopes the success of the Fur Ball encourages more people to donate.

“Now that the deadline is getting closer — we’ve got less than a year — that might step up some of the donations,” she said. “I think the awareness is finally getting out there. I think people are finally talking about and hearing about (the shelter).”

A couple of other fundraisers are set for this year. Aisin USA Mfg. Inc. conducts a 5K run each year and donates proceeds to a charity, and it chose the Jackson County Dog Shelter to benefit from this year’s event May 28. Then in the summer, a voice competition is planned.

The committee also plans to do Fur Ball again next year to raise money to support the shelter once it’s operational.

Meetings are conducted as needed to discuss fundraising ideas. Hackman said the public is invited to the committee’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour. The committee also is seeking an experienced grant writer.

The shelter will take the place of Red Sky Rescue, a nonprofit dog shelter Ruth Riley has operated in Medora since 2008.

The county has a contract with Riley to house dogs collected by the county’s animal control officer until she can find them a home. That contract was supposed to be a temporary solution until a shelter was built. The county picks up about 20 dogs a month, and Riley typically has 60-plus dogs to take care of at once.

There is a second animal shelter, the Humane Society of Jackson County, but it only takes dogs and cats collected in Seymour by the city’s animal control officer. It receives operating funds from the city and through fundraisers and donations. It does not receive county funding.

If money is gathered for the new dog shelter, Riley wants to focus on helping place dogs and have someone else take care of the daily needs of running the shelter. She has a 93 percent success rate with placing dogs in permanent homes.

Once the new shelter is built, the county will fund its operations with the $29,700 it currently pays Red Sky Rescue to house stray dogs.

The proposed 9,000-square-foot block building would be large enough to hold about 200 dogs, and it will rely solely on private donations.

Sheriff Mike Carothers will oversee the shelter, and low-level offenders at the jail will feed and take care of the dogs and keep the shelter clean. That way, the committee doesn’t have to pay a staff, and the inmates have a way of working and giving back while they are incarcerated.

The inmates won’t have any interaction with the public. But Carothers said there will be a benefit to inmates because they will have interaction with the dogs, and he can use the program as a reward system for offenders who show good behavior.

Adoptions would take place on days when volunteers will be there.

Carothers also has agreed to sell naming rights for the shelter, so the committee is seeking someone interested in giving a large contribution, Hackman said.

“We want to do this for the dogs, we want to do it for the inmates, but we also need to get Ruth out from under where she’s at because, frankly, we need her services,” Hackman said. “We need her to teach us how to get these dogs on transport and find them homes.”

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Donations are being accepted to help build the Jackson County Dog Shelter.

To contribute, visit or stop by the Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour, or call 812-523-4483.

For information about the dog shelter, contact Debbie Hackman at 812-525-9367 or “like” Jackson County Dog Shelter on Facebook.

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What: Jackson County Dog Shelter committee meeting

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Community Foundation of Jackson County, 107 Community Drive, Seymour

Who: Committee members will meet to discuss fundraising ideas; the public is invited to attend


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