Humane Society ready to ‘Howl at the Moon’

WINTER HAVEN – Thursday, October 15, 2009 | Halloween is around the corner bringing with it a traditional sight of the season – a dog silhouetted in the light of full moon while braying into the darkness – and there are plenty of dogs in residence at the local Humane Society shelter.

The Humane Society of Polk County invites the public to celebrate the Halloween season with canine style during “Howl at the Moon,” from 5 to 9 p.m., Oct. 23, at its shelter, located at 555 Sage Road.

The event will feature the live music of Lance Holden and the Joyful Praise Band performing a variety of music styles; a demonstration by Dogs n Sync, a canine drill team; vendors for pets and owners; children’s activities; food and drink booths; and 50/50 and themed basket raffles.

Vendors will offer a variety of goods and services, including dog massage, dog therapy and baked goods for pets. Several veterinarians will be on hand with information.

A highlight of the evening will be the costume contest with prizes awarded for the best costume, best kiss and best trick. According to Laura Chaikin, administrative assistant and event organizer, the organization’s board president, Gerry Reeves, will judge the best kiss contest.

Dogs and cats will be available for adoption during the evening. Chaikin said the shelter currently houses 61 animals – 40 cats and 21 dogs.

Dr. Jerry Rayburn will be on site to microchip pets for $20 per animal. The microchipping will include registration with Home Again Pet Recovery System and Identification System.

“That means that all information taken that evening will be sent to Home Again. Any vet who participates in Home Again are on file nationally. If a registered pet is lost, it’s medical (and identification) records are on file and can be accessed” by veterinarians in the area it is found, Chaikin said.

A lost pet’s owner can be located through the information found on the chip and in the registry.

“Dr. Rayburn is donating his time, so all proceeds from micro chipping will go back into the shelter,” Chaikin said, adding that the procedure normally costs approximately $40 to $45.

Executive Director Lisa Baker said it takes about $500,000 a year to run the shelter, which does not receive any government funding.

“We are supported 100 percent by donations,” Baker said.

Baker said it is getting more difficult for all non-profit organizations to drum up donations for operating funds.

“This event is important so we can continue our efforts to help the community and the pets who live here,” Baker said. “We’re having the event to raise money for operation of the shelter and to also have a fun family night.”

“It will be a howling good time,” Baker added.