Raffle, Fur Ball lift dog shelter effort near halfway point


All it took for Nancy Fleming to be the owner of a new utility task vehicle was spending $20 on a raffle ticket.

Last year, after purchasing a van from Bob Poynter GM in Seymour, she saw a Polaris Ranger 570 on the showroom floor with information about a raffle to help build the Jackson County Dog Shelter.

“I saw it and thought, ‘Wow!'” Fleming said. “I said, ‘Well, yeah, give me a ticket.'”

Just recently, someone from the dog shelter committee called her and let her know she was the winner of the raffle that netted a profit of $11,374 for the dog shelter.

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The raffle’s profits combined with the nearly $13,000 raised from the second Fur Ball on March 4 at Pewter Hall in Brownstown puts the fundraising total at $94,600, said dog shelter committee member Debbie Hackman. That total includes $91,100 in cash and $3,500 in pledges.

It will take $200,000 to build the facility the dog shelter committee wants, so it is close to reaching the halfway point.

Soon after she won, Fleming went to Seymour Powersports and Equipment along West Tipton Street to receive the keys and learn how to operate the UTV.

“That’s going to be too fun,” she said of riding the UTV on the 89-acre farm where she and her husband, Paul, live south of Seymour. “If I’m not on my horse, I’ll be on my UTV.”

The couple said the UTV will be more convenient to use to get around on their property.

“We have some grandkids who are looking forward to it,” Paul said.

The UTV was priced at $9,999, and the Flemings are responsible for applicable taxes. They received the winning ticket to keep as a souvenir.

Anthony Walker, a member of the dog shelter committee, said members of the committee spent about eight months selling raffle tickets, which were $20 for one and $50 for three.

They sold 1,008 tickets, including about $2,200 worth during the Fur Ball.

“I had a guy buy $1,000 worth. I had somebody buy $750 worth. I had several people buy $100 to $400 worth,” Walker said. “But I always say it only takes one ticket.”

Last year’s inaugural Fur Ball raised $24,000, and Walker said attendance was down this year because of other events going on that night in the county.

Other fundraisers conducted in 2016 included an all-terrain vehicle and Jeep ride, a dog show, a fun run, a car show and a dog swimming event. Then earlier this year, proceeds from a Battle for the Badges basketball tournament went toward the shelter.

The ATV and Jeep ride in the fall went 75 miles around the county. The committee plans to do that event again this year but may move it to the spring or early summer, Walker said.

The committee currently is conducting a cosmetic bag fundraiser, and it will receive a part of the proceeds from the Seymour Half Marathon on May 20.

Plus, the committee already is planning for next year’s Fur Ball.

“It is a yearlong commitment,” Walker said. “The Fur Ball is going to be an ongoing thing even after the shelter is built.”

Anyone interested in purchasing a cosmetic bag may send a message via the Jackson County Dog Shelter Facebook page.

Also on that page and the website jacksoncountydogshelter.org, people can view a video that shares information about the need for a dog shelter. It includes interviews with Ruth Riley of Red Sky Rescue, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Carothers, Jackson County Councilman Brian Thompson and county animal control officer Mark Deaton.

“They actually took a dog into the jail and interacted with a couple of inmates because this is not just going to be a dog shelter, it’s also going to be an inmate program where certain inmates can go in and help take care of the dogs and clean the kennels and feed them and walk them and things like that,” Walker said.

The low-level offenders would be used so the committee doesn’t have to pay a staff, and the inmates would have a way of working and giving back while they are incarcerated.

Carothers, who would oversee the shelter, said the inmates will benefit because they will have interaction with the dogs, and he can use the program as a reward system for offenders who show good behavior.

The inmates would not have any interaction with the public. Adoptions would take place on days when shelter volunteers are there.

The deadline for the committee to apply for a building permit for the shelter is coming up.

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.

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

The county has a contract with Riley to house dogs collected by Deaton 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.

Once the building permit application is submitted and approved for the new shelter, construction will have to start within a year and a half, Hackman said. Starting construction could be as little as moving dirt.

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

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.

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

Tax-deductible donations may be made to the Jackson County Dog Shelter Fund at the Community Foundation of Jackson County in Seymour.

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

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To make a donation to help build the Jackson County Dog Shelter, 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, “like” Jackson County Dog Shelter on Facebook or visit jacksoncountydogshelter.org.


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