Nonprofit Angels of Mercy plans fundraisers to aid no-kill shelter in Fayette County

| Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

Angels of Mercy Animal Rescue and Adoption Agency is a nonprofit organization whose members are dedicated to raising funds for a no-kill shelter in Fayette County.

The group's mission is to protect and save the lives of animals that have been forgotten, rejected, abandoned or abused by society; to promote an animal-friendly community by encouraging compassion and respect of animals through education and by example; to advocate responsible pet ownership; to support a spay and neuter program; to assist in finding responsible homes or caretakers for pets; and to enforce all laws designed for animals, especially the prevention of cruelty, organizers explained.

“Our upcoming fundraiser is a SPAYghetti Dinner being held at First Presbyterian Church in Fairchance from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13,” said Dana Zinck, Angels of Mercy vice president. “We appreciate them allowing us to hold our SPAYghetti dinner there.

“Tickets can be purchased in advance from any Angels of Mercy member or at the door — adults $7, children 10 and under $5,” Zinck added. “Take-out is also available, and we invite everyone out for a delicious dinner to support our group.”

The organization is actively recruiting members, Zinck said.

“We need people who can volunteer to do promotions and public relations, and we especially need foster families while we raise money for a shelter,” Zinck said. “Right now, all the animals that we take in live in individual homes. The homes have been inspected. We have our kennel license from the Department of Agriculture.”

Dennis Heath is the organization's treasurer.

“The reason I came on board is because of the huge need we have in Fayette County for controlling the pet population through spay and neuter,” Heath said. “That is our biggest push. We can help people with low-cost spay and neutering. We are trying to establish a shelter here in Fayette County. At the moment, we are using foster families. We are always in need of additional foster families.”

Jamie Speelman, Angels of Mercy president, is a certified humane officer, so when there is animal cruelty or neglect, she can help educate, train or take the animals.

The animals that come to Angels of Mercy have often been given up by sick homeowners, people who have had to move or are animals that have been abused or abandoned.

“We recently took in eight kittens that were on the roof of a home where the people had moved out,” Zinck said. “Jamie rescued a cat we call Chappy. He was in a box that was taped shut and thrown away.”

Zinck noted that area veterinarians work with the organization to give care and spay and neuter the animals.

“With their help, we make the animals healthy and then find them good homes. We work with Catnip Acres in Waynesburg for our cats and Dr. (Donald) Tummons in Uniontown for our dogs. They both give us a break in price,” Zinck said.

“We will hold two low-cost clinics for cats this month at Catnip Acres — Oct. 14 and 31. Some of our volunteers go to help the vets and vet assistants there,” Zinck said. “We can't promote spay and neuters enough. It's our big thing. We want to educate the community. We speak to Girl Scouts and Brownies and are happy to speak to other groups about responsible pet ownership. In turn, we're hoping the parents will want to get involved and help us branch out. The nonprofit designation is in place and we are fairly new, but we have already spayed or neutered 37 dogs and almost 140 Fayette County cats, and we've had nearly 30 adoptions out of foster homes.”

The organization is holding a Halloween dance from 8 p.m. to midnight Nov. 2 at Duck Hollow Golf Course. Costumes are encouraged. There will be prizes and lots of fun, members note. Advance tickets are available by calling 724-317-5558.

For more information, call 724-317-5558 or visit the Facebook page at Angels of Mercy Animal Rescue and Adoption Agency. Donations are tax-deductible.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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