FAIRMONT - Running an animal shelter isn't cheap. All those barking and mewing mouths need to be fed, and the vet bills add up in quickly.
That's why fundraisers are a routine part of the schedule for Martin County Humane Society. This month the organization has two: a plant sale on Sept. 7 and a dog walk Sept. 15.
Proceeds from events like these contributed 28 percent to the Carl Nettifee Memorial Animal Shelter's budget in 2012. Last year, expenses at the shelter added up to $120,000, a monthly average of $10,013. Revenues were $121,000.
PEEK-A-BOO?— This is one of several guinea pigs living at the shelter in a room that will someday be used as an exercise and play area for cats.
"It is extremely hard to budget," said Nancy Fetters, Humane Society treasurer.
How many cats or dogs will need shelter, food and medical treatment from month to month is impossible to predict. Even from day to day the numbers can change dramatically.
"Vet care is our biggest expense," Fetters said. "... Dr. Katzer gives us a wonderful break, but still ..."
"It adds up," said Marilyn Belseth, Humane Society board member and shelter volunteer.
The fee for in-house adoptions contributed 22 percent to last year's budget, and general donations assisted with 36 percent of the budget. Grants and contributions from the city of Fairmont and county also help.
The city pays for the shelter's utilities, and a percentage of whatever is left over for the police department's animal control officer goes to the shelter, in exchange for the animal shelter keeping two open kennel spaces at all times for dogs that are brought in by the police.
Martin County also gives $900 per quarter for out-of-city animals that come into the shelter.
Funds raised through events like the upcoming dog walk and plant sale are not to be confused with the fund drive that took place for the recently completed building expansion.
"They're two totally separate things," Fetters said.
Anyone interested in donating plants for the sale on Saturday can drop off plants or bulbs from 4:30-7 p.m. Friday in the parking lot behind St. John's UCC, Fairmont. The sale will take place 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 7.
For the dog walk, pledge sheets can be picked up at the shelter, Chain of Lakes Pet Hospital, or by emailing email@example.com
With or without a dog, everyone is welcome to participate in the event, which will be 2 p.m. Sept. 15 at Cedar Creek Park, Fairmont.
T-shirts will be given away to those who turn in a pledge sheet, and there will be prizes, beverages and food at the park.
The Humane Society also needs volunteers to help with fundraising.