PCSPCA wine bash boosts county animal shelter
The chime of tinkling wine glasses filled The Pretty Penny ﾠin Hillsboro on Saturday night as a cold winter wind howled outside.
The frigid weather didn't discourage a sell-out crowd from attending the benefit dinner, hosted by the Pocahontas County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCSPCA). The event generated more than $2,200 for veterinary costs for the animal welfare facility in Marlinton. The county commission will match PCSPCA-raised funds, dollar-for-dollar, up to $7,500.
Guests at Saturday's dinner enjoyed a three-course meal and sampled a variety of wines, advised by wine expert Banks Jesser, of Country Vintner in Lewisburg. Jesser served several vintages and explained the origin and characteristics of each.
During the event, attendees browsed and bid on a selection of items donated by several local artisans, individuals and businesses, including Richardson Hardware, Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Pocahontas Woods, Elk River Restaurant, George and Mickey Deike, Simon Lollis, Dick Evans, Doug Chadwick and others.
After the resignation of former animal control officer Sandy Mallow in December 2009, the county commission, in conjunction with the local Humane Society, relocated the animal shelter to the former Hanover Shoe building in Marlinton. The commission allocated $26,000 for improvements to the building, cages and other necessary supplies. Allegheny Recreation Center (ARC) partners John Fitzgerald and J.P. Duncan, who lease the building from the county, subcontracted to operate the shelter.
Under a new contract, signed in June 2010, PCSPCA became the prime contractor, with overall shelter management responsibility. The ARC partners negotiated directly with the county and are paid $6,200 per month to operate the shelter. For the period June 2010 to June 2011, the commission allocated $80,250 for shelter operations, $74,400 of which is being paid to Duncan and Fitzgerald.
In October 2010, the commission provided additional matching funds, up to $7,500, for veterinary expenses. Since then, PCSPCA has raised $2,750, including proceeds from the fundraising dinner and silent auction, a grant from Snowshoe Foundation, and cash donations.
The PCSPCA is planning a charity golf tournament for May 1 at the Pocahontas Country Club in Marlinton and is working on other fundraising ideas to provide full funding for veterinary expenses through the end of the current contract, which expires in June 2011.
During the county commission's March 2011 budget meetings, the PCSPCA will discuss possible changes in contract terms and costs for the next fiscal year. The group is developing plans to reduce costs for shelter operations and will propose contract innovations to address issues that have arisen since it assumed responsibility for the shelter.
PCSPCA treasurer Jay Miller said the group has two main goals for 2011.
"There are two fundamental things we need to resolve," Miller said. "One is, are we going to have a contract with the county after June 30? The long-term legitimacy of the PCSPCA as the operator of the shelter - that role needs to be clarified. It's something that we want, but it's just a one-year contract. Right now, our planning calendar ends on June 30."
Getting that resolved - knowing whether we have a contract after June 30 is one thing, and the other is to establish a steady, reliable source of income, both from the county and through fundraising."
PCSPCA currently has more than 30 members and operates a website at www.petfinder.com/shelters/WV162.html. For more information, call Rich Weber at 304-799-2403.