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Animal Shelter Donations Urged in Memory of Betty White

Photo by Carri Graham - Anthony Ritz, assistant dog warden at the Belmont County Animal Shelter, holds 6-month-old Jewelz, a dog at the shelter who recently became available for adoption.

Betty White was set to turn 100 years old Jan. 17, and since her death on Dec. 31, many people are encouraging her fans to donate to their local animal shelters in honor of her birthday.

White, an actress and avid animal lover, died New Year’s Eve just a couple of weeks shy of her 100th birthday. A trend has been circulating on social media suggesting people donate to their local animal shelters and rescue organizations on Jan. 17 in her honor.

Candace Fleagane, director of Belmont County Cat Stray Shun, is one of those people encouraging others to help support animals in need. She recently took to Facebook to let residents know they could follow the trend and donate to either her nonprofit or the Belmont County Animal Shelter.

“It’s been all over Facebook, and wouldn’t it be nice in her honor for people to donate to their local shelters. … Any amount of money, if people would want to donate to either Cat Stray Shun or the animal shelter, are used for veterinary care,” she said, adding that veterinary care includes services like spaying and neutering, amputations, dental work and other services. “We have very high vet bills.”

Fleagane said she has always been a fan of White and her work with animals.

“I admire her. Even though she’s a big movie star, she’s always had a big love of animals and that’s been her main priority in life. I’m kind of the same way. I have been volunteering at the animal shelter for 37 years, pretty much all my life, and when the county stopped taking care of cats 10 years ago, I volunteered to raise the money and make sure we didn’t have to stop taking cats. It usually takes me about $4,000 a month to take care of the cats’ veterinary bills,” she said.

Anthony Ritz, assistant dog warden at the Belmont County Animal Shelter, also encourages residents to consider donating to help the facility support the animals it houses and their veterinary care.

“Please donate for Betty White’s birthday. All the proceeds will go to help us with vet bills,” he said.

Those interested in donating can mail checks to Fleagane’s organization and address them to BCCSS at P.O. Box 207, Morristown, OH 43759. To give to the shelter, mail to BCAS at 45244 National Road West, St. Clairsville, OH 43950.

“For any reason, if someone sends a check to either of those addresses, we will get it. Either address is fine,” Fleagane said. “The money for Cat Stray Shun goes toward the cats and the money for the shelter goes to the dogs.”

Money donated is tax deductible, Fleagane said. Those who prefer to donate items instead of money can drop off at the animal shelter. Some items needed include dry or canned food (no food coloring), Clorox, laundry detergent, paper towels and clumping kitty litter.

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