By Maddy Vitale
The Humane Society of Ocean City continues to find ways to attract potential adoptees as well as to bring awareness to the community about the millions of unwanted animals who are without homes nationwide.
The HSOC raised more than $4,000 for the shelter animals, specifically to enhance the cat room, during a benefit April 5 at Josie Kelly’s Public House in Somers Point.
The fundraiser, called “Grateful Pets” featured a Grateful Dead tribute band called Dead Reckoning. There was an assortment of food, tables of desserts and raffles.
At HSOC, a no-kill shelter at 1 Shelter Road in Ocean City, the staff prepares the dogs and cats for their new homes with medical care, attention, exercise and in the case of canines — training.
Shelter staffers also interview the potential new owners to ensure that they are the right fit for the animals.
“Our mission here at the HSOC is to provide the highest level of compassion and service to our animal friends,” said Phil Bellucci, executive director of HSOC Operations.
The community has been very supportive of the shelter through the years, he emphasized.
And there is an abundance of animals needing loving homes available for adoption.
Presently, there are 98 cats and six dogs available for adoption. However, that number can go up or down depending on the situation, Bellucci said.
He stressed that the main goal of the shelter is to not only feed and care for the animals, but also prepare them for their new lives in a permanent home.
That means the dogs get exercise, attention, training and handling from experienced dog trainers such as George Muller, and the cats get a lot of play time, care and affection.
There are enclosed dog runs and the trainers routinely take the dogs out for walks.
There is also a large cat room stocked with toys, cat houses and scratching posts.
All of the unwanted animals who end up at the shelter have stories, and it is not their fault that they end up there, Bellucci noted.
He said the Grateful Pets benefit was such a success, but there is so much more to do and many more planned events to spread awareness about the shelter and bring in much-needed donations.
“Whether it will be making a monetary or item donation, volunteering at our shelter, coming to one of our fundraising events, or just sharing information about us and the work we do, it all helps us help the animals,” he pointed out. “We could not do what we do without the community of caring fellow animal lovers out there.”
Events coming up include:
May 15 – Putt Putt for Paws at Pirate Island Golf (Ocean City)
June 2 – Doggie Dip and Bathe to Save. Dip your dog in the ocean. Bathe your dog on the Boardwalk between Fifth and Sixth streets (Ocean City)
June 7 – Skato with Kato IV. All ages skate competition with live music by The Sheckies and Ill Rendition (Ocean City Skate Park)
June – Tacocats and the Exchange in Linwood MEOWgaritaville. Food and drink specials, photo booth, paint your cat and change drop. Date coming soon.
June – PaddePAWlooza at the Ocean City Paddle Company. Date and details coming soon. (10 Street Wharf, Ocean City)
For more information, call the shelter at (609) 398-9500 or visit www.hsocnj.org. People may make a donation online.