Animal control to host Christmas for the Animals

Published 11:20 am Monday, November 26, 2018

CASSOPOLIS — Posing for a photo, Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke sat next to Animal Control Director Ron Butts and held a wiggling puppy, named Hope, in his arms, waiting for her to hold still long enough for a camera to capture the moment.

Though the perfect picture took several shots, the three were eventually left with a photo fit for a Christmas card that both Behnke and Butts hope will promote an upcoming fundraiser for Cass County Animal Control.

Cass County Animal Control will host its 18th annual Christmas for the Animals event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the animal shelter, 323 N. M-62, Cassopolis. The event will serve as an open house for the shelter, where people can bring in donations and visit with shelter animals. Light refreshments will be served.

“This is a way to thank the community for their involvement [with the shelter],” Behnke said. “The community is so active with Animal Control, and this is way great way for us to give back and show our appreciation. … It’s a great opportunity for some great food and to see [shelter] employees and see how well our facility is run.”

Butts agreed, saying that community support is vital to animal control’s ability to work effectively in Cass County.

“We are really thankful for our community support,” Butts said. “We want to share with the community the facility we have here. We take a lot of pride in what we have. We are very fortunate to have the backing of the community, so that we can provide — seven days a week — the services that we do.”

As part of the thank-you to the community, Behnke said the Christmas for the Animals event will showcase the facility and everything Animal Control does in the community. In 2017 and 2018, Cass County Animal control adopted 600 animals and transferred 307 animals. For Behnke personally, he has adopted six dogs from the shelter over the years, which he said has shown him first-hand the good Animal Control does in the county and how well animal control treats the animals in its care.

“[My wife and I] come [to Christmas for the Animals] every year,” Behnke said. “In a way, this is a way for us to give back [to animal control], because they have done so much for us.”

In addition to being an avenue for Cass County Animal Control to thank the Cass County community for its support in 2018, Christmas for the Animals also allows the community to give to the shelter through donations of animal supplies and monetary donations. Some items Animal Control is seeking are dog and cat food, cat litter, bleach and towels. Last year, the shelter took in more than 5,000 pounds of pet food and more than 350 gallons of bleach.

“We are grateful for all donations,” Butts said. “Donations help us offset some of our costs, so that we can put more into medical and other needs for our animals.”

Both Butts and Behnke said they hope the community will turn out for Saturday’s event, so that they can showcase the Animal Control facility and thank to the community for their support.

“We want people to come and understand that these services are available and to see what an effective shelter we have here,” Behnke said.