Fund-raiser will help overcrowded shelter expand


Kendall Downing

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. — Leaders at the Marion Regional Humane Society are hopeful a fund-raiser will net them some of the money they need to start construction on a new building.

A small setback came last year, when a fire destroyed many of the society's vaccinations and supplies.

Despite that, the efforts to expand did not stop.

The shelter currently holds nearly 120 cats. They can't keep dogs at their building because the building's owner will not allow it. That is part of the reason behind the push to move.

"Help out animals that can't help themselves," said Ron Hill.

Hill's been a volunteer at the shelter for two years. He said it's been home to many of the animals there for much longer than that.

"In a kill shelter, they would've been long gone," said Hill.

Marion Regional Humane Society President Edna Fredman said their goal is community education, showing pet owners how to be responsible.

"Most of all, we are here to see that they get spayed and neutered," Fredman said. "That is our great emphasis."

She said the local area is overpopulated with pets.

"Because it's a rural area, people feel that they can dump cats and dogs," she said.

Leaders have $100,000 in the bank but they need four times that to start any work on a new building.

The organization took a hit last year when many of its supplies burned up in a fire at a volunteer's home.

"It's always a financial hardship to lose that many supplies," said Fredman.

There are a few birds and a couple puppies at the shelter. Most of the dogs they take in stay in foster homes.

"We'll work toward it," Fredman said. "We'll stay here as long as we can."

Fredman said volunteers are committed to taking care of the animals and for the time being, their current building will have to serve as home.

Architecture students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale have been working on preliminary drawings and designs for the future building.

The "A Cause Four Paws'' fun-draiser kicks off Friday night at 6 p.m. at Legends at Walker's Bluff in Carterville, Illinois.

There will be a silent auction and deejay.

It runs until 10 p.m. Friday night.