Tuskegee University Veterinary Students Help Make Macon County Human Society Fundraiser a Success
by Anissa L. Riley
TUSKEGEE, Ala. (June 1, 2012)- Caring for the well being of animals is nothing new to the students at the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine (TUSVM). However, the students have taken this charge to a higher level by volunteering their very limited free time to provide loving homes for pets through the Macon County Humane Society (MCHS). In fact, the largest MCHS fundraiser of the year was overseen by 14 TUSVM students who also volunteer their time as members of the MCHS Executive Board.
“Strummin for Strays,“ the largest annual fundraiser for the MCHS, was held April 22 at the War Eagle Supper Club in Auburn. John Brandt, owner of War Eagle Supper Club, adopted a dog from the MCHS and was so impressed that he has been a strong supporter ever since. Brandt donates his facility for the annual fundraiser.
During the fundraiser, participants paid a cover charge to enter and participated in various raffles. Local artists donated their time to provide musical entertainment as well merchants donated over $7,300 worth of items for the raffles.
“This was the second year of the biggest fundraiser which is held to help raise awareness of the MCHS as well as funds to care for the animals and place them in loving homes,“ said Jeannette Bimonte, MCHS Board Member and a member of TUSVM class of 2014. MCHS provides education to the public on the importance of spaying and neutering pets in order to control the pet population. A future goal for the upcoming school year is to get the next generation educated on how to take care of animals.
“We hope to speak to elementary aged kids in the school system about various issues which fall under our mission at the MCHS such as providing animal care and welfare including preventative veterinary care and vaccinations, preventing cruelty to animals, and eliminating animal overpopulation. We also want to address a big problem in our community - dog-fighting,“ said Bimonte.
Unlike many other animal shelters, the MCHS doesn’t have an actual building to house stray animals, so fosters are needed continuously. The shelter is depended on people willing to give their time, shelter, and love to animals.
“Although it keeps us going working around our demanding curriculum in the veterinary program in order to place these animals, we feel it is all worth it. We work hard to make sure our fosters have everything they need to care for the animals such as food, crate, vaccinations and other medical care; however, our fosters sometimes do the potty-training,” said Aida Vientos-Plotts, MCHS Board Member and a member of TUSVM class of 2014.
“Not having a shelter to house strays has its pros and cons. However, it gives us a good feeling when clients tell us that fostered animals seem to behave better because they have more one-on-one time with the people caring for them until they have a permanent home verses a shelter where they are caged more often,“ said Vientos-Plotts.
The MCHS is mostly run by Tuskegee veterinary students as a community outreach effort. The students representing the TUSVM class of 2014 include: Amy Alexander, William Bauer, Jeannette Bimonte, Thomas Caltabilota, Alexandra Rosado-Quintero, and Aida Vientos-Plotts.
The students representing the TUSVM class of 2015 include: Kaila Butler, Rebecca Cozart, Virginia Gregory, Andrea Lewis, Hillary McCormick, Wendee McGuffee, Sarah Salyer, and Courtney Smith. The MCHS president is Lorna Aho, a resident of Macon County, and office manager is Candis Ray, a student at Auburn University.
The MCHS is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization established in Macon County in 2003. It is currently run by mostly TUSVM students to care for the abandoned and neglected animals rescued in Macon County. To learn more about the needs of the MCHS and how you can help, visit http://www.maconcountyhumanesociety.org.