Dog shelter fundraising continues

An all-terrain vehicle ride, a utility task vehicle raffle, a dog show, a fun run, a car show and a dog swimming event have been conducted in the past year to help build the Jackson County Dog Shelter.

The recent second annual Battle for the Badges basketball tournament also had proceeds go toward the shelter.

That bumped the total raised to more than $70,000. To get the facility the 20-member dog shelter committee wants, it will take $200,000.

That group is hoping to reach the halfway point with the second annual Fur Ball, set for 6 to 11 p.m. March 4 at Pewter Hall in Brownstown.

Tickets are now available from committee members or at This Old Guitar Music Store in Seymour and Brownstown Veterinary Clinic. They are $40 per person, $70 per couple or $275 for a table of eight.

Capacity for the event is 450, and organizers expect it to sell out.

“We’ve had people ask before we were selling them, ‘Make sure you save me a table’ because the building was almost full last year,” said Debbie Hackman, a member of the shelter committee.

For last year’s inaugural event, 442 tickets were sold in a month’s time, and nearly $24,000 was raised.

“It was so much fun to put it together, and that night was so much fun for everybody that we decided that we’re going to do this, we’re committed to doing this even after the shelter is built to raise funds for either the shelter or for local spay and neuter programs, wherever the money is needed,” Hackman said. “If we can increase the spay and neuter rates, then we won’t have all of those stray dogs, either.”

This year’s event again will consist of dinner, dancing, door prizes and live and silent auctions. TOG Band again is donating its time to provide live music.

Hackman said the auction will include autographed sports memorabilia and a guitar signed by Seymour native John Mellencamp. Donations of auction items will be accepted until the morning of the event.

“We would like to have more donations for the auction,” Hackman said. “We had folks last year that we didn’t know that were calling and giving us things. They were just donating because they believed in the cause.”

The drawing for the UTV also will take place at the Fur Ball. Tickets are $20 for one or $50 for three and can be purchased from any committee member or by sending a message via the Jackson County Dog Shelter Facebook page. They are selling 2,500 tickets, and about 500 remain, Hackman said.

If you can’t make it to the Fur Ball, tax-deductible donations may be made to the Jackson County Dog Shelter Fund at the Community Foundation of Jackson County in Seymour.

The deadline 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 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.

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, so we still have time to raise the money, but if we do really well on the Fur Ball, we might be able to start doing something,” she said. “It might not be what we originally wanted — the nice, huge building that we originally planned on — but we would be able to do something because it’s becoming very crucial that we have something other than Red Sky.”

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.

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 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 they 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.

Adoptions would take place on days when volunteers are there.

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

“We’re going to build with what money we have,” Hackman said of construction starting later this year. “We’re hoping that we make enough money on the Fur Ball that the sheriff would see that he has enough money to start something. Maybe we could start something and build onto it as we raise more funds.”

At a glance

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 or “like” Jackson County Dog Shelter on Facebook.

If you go

What: Second annual Fur Ball, a fundraiser to help build the Jackson County Dog Shelter

When: 6 to 11 p.m. March 4

Where: Pewter Hall, 850 W. Sweet St., Brownstown

Cost: $40 for single, $70 for couple, $275 for a table of eight; tickets are available at This Old Guitar Music Store in Seymour or Brownstown Veterinary Clinic in Brownstown or from any dog shelter committee member

Features: Dinner, dancing, door prizes, live music from the TOG Band and live and silent auctions

Information: To donate an item for the silent auction or purchase a ticket for the utility task vehicle raffle, contact a committee member or send a message via the Jackson County Dog Shelter Facebook page. Raffle tickets are $20 for one or $50 for three.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at or 812-523-7080.