The Sarge's Animal Rescue Foundation is one step further along in its mission to help pets with the awarding of a $2,125 grant from the Ryan Newman Foundation.
The grant provides enough funding to cover costs for 50 spay/neuter surgeries for cats in Haywood County.
Since spaying and neutering helps prevent unwanted pregnancies and keeps the number of stray cats and kittens down, Sarge's has a spay/neuter program set up for all of the animals it puts up for adoption. However, to keep adoption costs down, grants such as the one from the Ryan Newman Foundation are vital.
"There are just so many cats that need to be adopted that we try to keep adoption costs low," said Randi Pollack, who wrote the grant with the help of Connie Hewitt and Linda Sexton. "This way we can offer specials. Right now we have a $25 half price Back to School special, but obviously it costs us much more than that to get them ready to go."
There are many instances when a potential adopter would love to get a new cat but can't spend the money to cover the adoption fee.
Pollack said studies have shown that even if a person gets a cat for free, they are just as likely to take good care of the animal as someone who pays money for a pet.
"This (grant) allows us to get cats into homes where they will be taken care of with less cost to the adopter," she explained.
Sarge's adoption numbers are on the rise with more cats adopted in 2012 than ever before with 233 cat adoptions. That's 37 more than the 196 adopted in 2011, and 2013 adoptions are looking like they will be even higher than last year's record-breaking number with 179 already adopted.
"That's a pretty big increase," Pollack said.
Applying for grants is a lot of work because the organizations awarding the money require a lot of information to make sure Sarge's has a plan in place to use the money well.
"So many organizations apply for grants," Pollack said, "it's very competitive."
But all the hard work is worth it if Sarge's can find more homes for cats and kittens, she added.
"We're really thankful we received the grant from the Ryan Newman Foundation. People are always very generous with donations and fundraisers, but we still need more money to save as many animals as we can," Pollack said.