By DAVID GREEN
There’s only one county among Ohio’s 88 that doesn’t have an active humane society. If Sondra Metts has her way, that last county—Fulton—will soon join in with the others.
The Fulton County Humane Society existed in the past, Metts said, but the organization folded in the 1990s. In its previous existence, it served primarily as a home for needy cats. She wants the reorganized group to broaden its focus and include dogs and other animals.
“As much as we love cats, we want to open it up to dogs and even livestock,” said Metts, a rural Fayette resident.
She knows of someone who has rescued several horses in need of care.
There’s one other change that Metts considers essential for a new group to succeed: It must be a grassroots effort that involves citizens from throughout the county.
A board of directors will oversee the major efforts of the agency, but auxiliary boards will serve as the driving force behind various activities, including fund raising. She hopes to attract a couple dozen people to provide a more community-oriented approach.
“We want to make sure we can do what the community wants,” Metts said, and that will likely vary from town to town.
She’s spoken with Humane Society directors from several other chapters and they all convinced her of the importance of an auxiliary board. That board will be further broken down into committees.
Anyone interested in joining the group should be able to attend a monthly meeting and have a sincere interest in developing programs for the agency. That, Metts said, along with a love of animals.
It will be up to the auxiliary group to decide what projects it would like to tackle.
Metts said she and board members have looked at a few possible locations for a shelter and hope to begin narrowing the search.
Her big fantasy, she said, would be to replicate the effort in Williams County where an unused building was donated and ample financial donations paid for renovation and the initial operation of the agency.
She and others have worked toward the organization of a new Humane Society over the past six months. Metts believes the time is past for Fulton residents to rely on assistance from surrounding communities.
“Every other county does it so I don’t think it’s undoable,” she said.
Fulton County dog warden Pete Skeldon handled about 1,200 dogs in the past year, Metts said, and some neighboring Humane Society organizations tally a total of about 2,400 various animals annually.
Metts said Skeldon strongly endorses a Humane Society group and county sheriff Darrell Merillat also lends support.
The group has obtained 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status for donations and Metts says not to let the words “Fulton County” in the title mislead you. It’s not a county agency and all Humane Societies operate independently. The operation will depend entirely on donations and fund-raisers.
The next step is to create the auxiliary board.
“That’s where we want to put our growth,” Metts said. “That group will direct energy back into each community.”
• For more information, write to Fulton County Humane Society, PO Box 532, Archbold, OH 43502, or send e-mail to [email protected]