If you want to find a group of people whose work is a true labor of love, stop by the Fairfield Area Humane Society and take a look around. This tight-knit community of employees and volunteers is dedicated to protecting the rights of animals and helping them find permanent, loving homes. It grows every year, adding services that help pet owners and growing adoption services to help neglected and abused animals. Much of that work happens because the community supports the cause they champion every day.
“Everything we do is possible with help from the community!” exclaimed Corey Schoonover, Executive Director at the Fairfield Area Humane Society. “We’ve got seven employees, and some great volunteers.”
Though some may only view the facility as simply a place to drop off or adopt an animal and others consider it similar to a retail pet store, it’s important to realize that there is much more happening than meets the eye. “You could look at that part as retail, but it’s retail with a heartbeat. And this is so much more. For those unfamiliar, we do an amazing amount of work.”
Here’s just a portion of services that Fairfield Area Humane Society offers:
- A monthly spay/neuter clinic (partnering with The RASCAL Unit)
- Quarterly vaccine clinic
- Flea treatments
- Stray cat Trap-Neuter-Return services (which has grown to service over 1,500 cats in the last two years alone)
- Investigations on animal cruelty complaints (which was solely responsible for over 30,000 miles traveled in 2015).
All of these activities occur in addition to the well-known adoption services, which grew to over 800 animals last year. “Adoptees come from all around, not just Fairfield County. All over Ohio, from Columbus to Toledo to Cincinnati. We’ve even had adoptions from the Northeast US, like Conneticut!” Corey explained.
Along with growing adoptions and services, the facility continues to grow. For example, in late 2014, the Humane Society constructed a new dog park, dramatically increasing the traffic coming in the facility’s front door and providing a much needed service to pet owners. “It’s become a great marketing tool for us.” Corey said. “We used to have five, six visitors a day coming in. But just in the last ten minutes, we’ve had four. And the park isn’t just here for the new pet owners that come in, but for current pet owners. Sometimes we’ll hear someone say they have to give up their animal because they moved into smaller living arrangements or because they just don’t have enough room to play. But we hate to see that as their solution. So this is a solution for those in that situation too,” he added.
Another important new addition to the grounds is the Barney Wears Memorial Building, a newly erected quarantine facility located behind the main building. It officially opened on April 1 and provides space for new animals to be inspected and reside while being administered proper medications. Animals that are too young to be adopted or those from animal cruelty cases may be housed here for a period of time as well. In fact, 32 cats were just placed in the new building from one seizure in the last week.
“The costs for the services we offer continue to rise and have increased by nearly four times in the last six years. And our facilities have been improved and expanded,” Corey said noting that the staff and payroll have not increased. “So it’s really the great community support we have that has allowed us to expand our services and facilities.”
“One of our goals is that our adoption fees recoup the cost of the medical bills. We’d love it to work out that way, but it doesn’t. The costs are enormous. But the ultimate goal is doing what’s best for the animal and keeping them in good homes, and unfortunately it isn’t free. We’re so thankful for the support,” he added.
Volunteers are not only accepted, they are encouraged as they play a key role in the generous community support that Corey praises. That’s why VCNB employees consistently donate their time to this non-profit, and even serve or have served on their board. In fact, Corey and his staff hosted nearly 20 of our employees on a sunny Wednesday morning to share a little bit about what they do. They also shared how the Friendly Bremen Banking Center and VCNB financial family have been instrumental in their growth.
While touring the facility, our employees donated items on the Humane Society’s list of critical need, which includes things not generally considered top-of-mind when donating to an animal shelter or humane society. These items included paper towels, bleach and HE laundry detergent, dish soap, hand sanitizer, Pine-Sol and kitty litter.
The work for this staff of seven goes far beyond working directly with the animals and is clearly a labor of love. In fact, you’ll often see the Humane Society crew out and about around Fairfield County, sharing information and drumming up membership and support. In one week in July, they were on hand at the Lancaster Festival’s Art Walk and Festival Fair Day, hosting the aforementioned group of VCNB employees, doing interviews, and filming TV segments for a television station in Central Ohio.
This week, they will host their annual WOOFSTOCK event at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds. This two day event features a family fun and adoption event on Saturday, August 6 from 11am-8pm. The public is encouraged to attend and the day will feature fun for all ages, including live music, inflatables, laser tag, raffles, food and craft vendors, and wiener dog races. Most importantly, adoptable dogs needing homes will be on hand. On Sunday, August 7 from 11am-4pm, they’re hosting day two of Woofstock, which is a low cost vaccination clinic featuring $10 vaccines, $15 micro-chips, $5 nail trims, and $10 dog baths.
Click here to learn how you can help including information on or more information on membership or volunteering.