When attorney Lauren Miller got a call about sitting down with the interim director and president of the board of the Humane Association on Taft Road, she thought it was about her joining the board.
“I got a call from a friend asking to set up a meeting with Bill Young and Bruce Shafiroff,” Miller said. “I thought it was because they wanted me to join the board of directors.”
Miller set up the meeting, but she was in for a surprise.
“They wanted to talk to me about the legal ramifications of closing down the shelter,” she said. “It wasn’t what I expected.”
The Humane Association had been in dire financial straits since the death of its longtime director; at the time Miller met with Young and Shafiroff, the shelter only had enough money to keep running for two more months.
“They had largely relied on bequests, and they just hadn’t been coming in,” Miller said. “The money was running out.”
Miller asked if closure was inevitable and was told the shelter had to consider it as a possibility. But she wasn’t willing to let it go that easily.
“We decided to redirect our efforts into seeing what we could do to keep the shelter open,” she said. “I started sending out e-mails to everyone I knew, and suddenly I had an army at my disposal. People sent me a lot of great ideas.”
One of the great ideas was a Donation Drop Day at which people can stop by and leave any donation they want. The event has been scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday Sept. 27 at the Humane Association. It will include a tour of the facility, information tents and a silent auction of baskets full of items donated by local businesses and individuals.
In the meantime, the Humane Association is working not only to increase the donations coming in, but to cut its operating costs.
“We’re trying to be as frugal as we can be,” Miller said. “For example, we switched from one trash company to another and saved $600. The idea is to make the donations we get go farther.”
The Humane Association needs:
Clay cat litter
Canned cat food
Dry cat food
Canned dog food
Toys for cats and dogs
Treats for cats and dogs
Litter boxes/pans (medium and large)
Exam gloves (large and extra-large)
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.