HARLINGEN — Fast-food restaurants are joining the community’s drive to help find homes for stray dogs and cats.
This week, Chick-fil-A donated $2,500 to the Harlingen Humane Society, three months after the society announced it was “broke.”
Pat Turman-White, the Humane Society’s president, was pleased after Chick-fil-A representatives presented her with the donation.
“Every dime helps us,” she said.
In April, Turman-White announced a financial crisis was forcing the society to cut back on programs such as spay and neutering services.
Soon, the area’s animal lovers unleashed an outpouring of support.
On Facebook, businesses such as Bloomers Flowers and Gifts helped launch a fundraising drive, challenging businesses such as Cita’s Boutique to match $50 donations.
At the same time, 17-year-old Maddy Garza’s GoFundMe page raised more than $2,400.
Meanwhile, the city, which gives the organization an annual contribution of $131,000, agreed to make an immediate, one-time payment of $25,000 in May while planning to boost its annual contribution by $29,000 during the upcoming fiscal year.
In June, Norma Colwell helped launch Wine & Whiskers, a community-wide event that raised $17,000.
From May through July, the society has raised $49,631 in donations and $23,766 through fundraisers.
“It’s awesome,” Turman-White said.
But she said the organization continues to struggle.
To run its animal shelter, the Humane Society operates on a $475,000 budget, while counting on the city’s annual $131,000 contribution as its only secured source of revenue.
Its monthly expenses are high, ranging from about $30,000 to $40,000.
So every year, the organization is faced with raising $344,000 to keep running.
“We’re never out of the woods,” Turman-White said. “It’s a constant ongoing struggle. Our needs are constant, daily needs.”
Now, the organization is planning to launch a constant stream of fundraisers.
So far, it has set fundraisers from October to February.
“We want to have one set for every month of the year,” Turman-White said.
The community’s support is paying off.
In Harlingen, the numbers of euthanizations is sharply dropping.
From January to May, the Humane Society euthanized 1,817 stray dogs, down from 2,426 during the same period last year, Turman-White said.
She credits the organization’s program aimed at spaying and neutering stray dogs and cats.
In 2007, the Humane Society euthanized 8,100 dogs and cats.
Last year, that number dropped to 5,041.