Distillery hands over $10K donation to humane society

Published 7:34 pm Monday, July 8, 2019

Fizzy Ramsey said she knew Danville-Boyle County Humane Society was receiving a donation from Wilderness Trail Distillery, but she didn’t know exactly how large it would be.

On Friday, the distillery presented a “big check” to the humane society during its First Friday event, which included the proceeds from a charity barrel auction held during the Kentucky Bourbon Affair. The donation totaled $10,000, and Ramsey — DBCHS Board president — could not be happier. 

“We knew it was going to be substantial,” she said, based on the quality of the items that had been auctioned. “But there’s always a shock factor to such great generosity.”

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Shane Baker, Wilderness Trail Distillery co-owner, chose the humane society because he and his wife, Melissa, are animal lovers and wanted to support the local nonprofit’s efforts to control the animal population.

DBCHS has been working with a consultant to determine the humane society’s needs and an expanded community cat spay/neuter program is one of the biggest. The consultant recommended the local shelter use the “return to field” process for cats.

That means in lieu of shelter intake or possible euthanasia, any community cat brought to the shelter will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated and returned to its original home location. The report recommends DBCHS find $49,210 in funding —  $39,000 to get an estimated 600 community cats sterilized through the return to field program; $10,000 to help with income-targeted spay/neuter through Happy Paws Spay/Neuter Clinic for cats and dogs; and $210 for portals needed in between cat cages to improve their living quarters.

Ramsey said DBCHS is “overjoyed” by Wilderness Trail’s generosity. She said organizations like the distillery are creating a ripple for change in their own community.

“Their partnership supports and inspires our paradigm shift in humanely addressing pet overpopulation,” she said.

The $10,000 could help spay or neuter more than 200 animals.

“That doesn’t seem like a big number, but if that number were to be left unaltered they can create over 80,000 animals in a 3-year time span,” she said. “The generosity of our local veterinarians (Town and County, Nash Cleveland and Godrey, Danville Animal Hospital, Heartland Veterinary Hospital and Happy Paws Spay/Neuter Clinic) has been instrumental in making this possible.”

Boyle County Animal Control and shelter staff has helped organize over 110 surgeries, which also involves community education on cat behavior and population control.

“People arrive to surrender a stray cat and we give them the opportunity to keep the cat as we schedule spay/neuter surgery and rabies vaccination,” Ramsey said. “If the cat is feral and they prefer not to handle the cat, we get their permission to spay/neuter, vaccinate and return the cat to its original location; maintaining its place, and preventing new, likely unaltered, cats from moving in.”

Area veterinarians have been instrumental in the success of this method in addressing community cats.

The distillery said it had a great crowd Friday night, and Patriotic Paws shirts — created by DBCHS — are still on site at its gift shop and may be purchased for $15 each. Proceeds from the shirts benefit the DBCHS community cat program.

“I was delighted to see so many dedicated supporters come out Friday. This is a busy holiday season for vacationing, yet folks still came out to celebrate with us,” Ramsey said.