GREENCASTLE -- The Humane Society of Putnam County may still be closed, but if the society's bid for a $250,000 grant is successful, they will be able to reopen and afford many well-needed improvements.
"The economy has affected Putnam County, and the animals suffer," said Humane Society board president Lynn Bohmer.
The society recently learned that they have become a finalist in the $250,000 food and shelter category of the Pepsi Refresh Project, a humanitarian project sponsored by Pepsi that awards those with plans to improve the community with the money to do so. Each idea is submitted to the project, and the best ideas are displayed online complete with a budget and outlined plan. Users vote on the ideas that they like the best, and the top two ideas receive the grant money.
Along with a recent grant from Pedigree dog food, the money could be used to help improve the facilities and resources of the shelter, Bohmer said.
The shelter has four main ideas for how to budget the grant money. In order to prevent disease outbreaks similar to the one that has currently closed the shelter, the society plans to build a quarantine facility that can isolate animals with infectious diseases and prevent spreading.
The shelter would also be able to replace an older van used for transporting animals, help assist families with spaying and neutering their pets and create a six-month savings account that would cover operating expenses and other emergencies if necessary.
"We do have ups and downs depending on the seasons," Bohmer said. "It would be extremely important (to receive the grant), not only in making sure Putnam County has a shelter that fits the needs of the city, but so we can continue to improve our services."
As of Thursday night, the society was in second place in the $250,000 category, but voting will continue until Dec. 31, and the shelter is trying to get the word out, updating its website with information and letting the community at large know.
The society applied for the grant before the outbreak occurred, and at the moment the shelter will remain closed until Purdue University, which has been helping the society with the outbreak crisis, believes it is safe for the animals to return permanently, Bohmer said. However, they are considering reopening the adoption services in order to meet the adoption demand brought about during the Christmas season.
"I even have people calling me at home. All some children want is a dog or a cat," Bohmer said.