Animal fundraiser bites 1 participant

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Lifebridge receives less from Monarchs, Mutts & Meows

By Lisa King

Officials of a local animal support group have expressed dissatisfaction with the way the proceeds were divided from a fundraiser that included all animal rescue organizations in Shelby County.

The Monarchs, Mutts & Meows, an overflow event at Claudia Sanders Dinner House on Feb. 12, generated about $15,000 that was to have been divided among the Shelby County Humane Society, the No-Kill Mission, Operation Catsnip Woodstock and Lifebridge for Animals.

Each of the first four groups received just more than $3,000, but organizers awarded Lifebridge $750, a fact that has not sat well with Teresa Bottom, executive director of Lifebridge.

“It was promoted as being held equally to support all the groups,” she said. “And unless we have something in writing in the future, we’ve learned our lesson.

“We won’t do anymore joint fundraisers. We got seven hundred and fifty dollars, and the others got a little over three-thousand.”

Richele Wilson of the event’s planning committee said she explained to the Lifebridge staff that they didn’t get as much as the others for a number of reasons.

“Everybody else had representation at all our weekly meetings, and the others did all the work and met with the band and spent their own money,” she said. “The other four groups put many, many hours into planning as well as each group spent personal money…the committee efforts took up 100 percent of their time in the last remaining weeks prior to the event.”

She added that Lifebridge only donated two silent auction items and said that after she explained this to them they “completely understood.”

“It was handled very fairly,” she said.

Bottom disagrees. She said she did not know there were committee meetings. Further, she said, Lifebridge donated several silent auction items, including coloring books, shirts and golf passes.

“We were just misled,” she said.

A crowd of 410 paid $45 per individual or $75 per couple to attend the event, suggesting ticket sales would have generated between around $15,000 to $18,000. After catering and other overhead expenses, such as a discounted fee to the band, The Monarchs, from Louisville, the groups divided the net proceeds generated by those ticket sales and the silent auction.

This was the first such event to include all the animal support groups, most of them expressed appreciation and said they may have the event again next year.

 “We will probably use ours for our vaccine bill from our supplier,” said Barbara Zekausky, executive director of the Shelby County Humane Society. “There’s no shortage of places it can go.

“We have forty dogs and three hundred cats right now, and we vaccinate all them several times. Plus we do rabies shots and every animal gets a micro chip and is tested for heart worms, and the cats for feline leukemia.”

Bottom said the money her organization received from the fundraiser will go toward education and spay/neuter assistance.

“We don’t have a facility, and that enables our money to go further,” she said. “I do the teaching in the schools, and we send our clients to two different vet clinics.”