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Community Responds to ‘Betty White Challenge’

Photo Provided - Cindi Yanez, dog warden with the Harrison County Dog Pound, poses for a photo with Ruby, a 1- or 2-year-old Rottweiler available for adoption. The Harrison County Dog Pound Volunteers received around $1,000 in donations through the Betty White challenge – an initiative in honor of the late actor, who would have marked her 100th birthday on Monday.

Local animal shelters and rescue organizations are grateful for the dozens of residents who chose to donate this past week in honor of the late Betty White’s 100th birthday.

The initiative was sparked after White, an actress and avid animal lover, died Dec. 31 – a little more than two weeks shy of her birthday. Since her death, fans of the actress encouraged people to donate to their local animal shelters and rescue organizations on Jan. 17 in her honor.

Candace Fleagane, director of Belmont County Cat Stray Shun, said more than 80 people donated to her nonprofit or the Belmont County Animal Shelter. Although she did not provide a total amount of donations received, she said it was above their expectations.

Fleagane said they are grateful for the community’s support. She said she has been busy writing thank you notes to all who donated to illustrate her appreciation.

“It has been a big help. … I want to thank everyone who participated and if they see this article and have not donated, we’ll still be happy to accept their gift. A donation of any kind is always appreciated,” she said. “We hope the county will keep supporting us.”

Around 50 people donated to the shelter and 35 to the cat program. All the donations will go toward the medical care of the animals. Fleagane said it wasn’t just people from the county who donated, but also folks from around the country who were former residents.

Cindi Yanez, a dog warden with the Harrison County Dog Pound, said the pound raised over $1,000 in donations this past week through the initiative.

“It was an unexpected surprise,” she said, adding that it would be nice if it would become an annual event in White’s honor. “Some shelters in more populated areas raised $5,000 to $9,000. I’m sure Betty White is happy up there looking down.”

Yanez said the Harrison County Dog Pound Volunteers, which runs completely through donations, is “extremely grateful” for the support of the community. All donations will go toward veterinary care for the dogs for both emergency and preventive care.

In Monroe County, Crossed Paws Animal Shelter thanked the community for its support via social media.

“A big Thank You to everyone who donated to the Betty White challenge. We truly appreciate your generosity, as I am sure Betty does too,” the shelter stated.

Those interested in donating can mail checks to Belmont County Cat Stray Shun at P.O. Box 207, Morristown, OH 43759. To give to the Belmont County Animal Shelter, mail to BCAS at 45244 National Road West, St. Clairsville, OH 43950.To donate to the Harrison County Dog Pound, mail checks to 82900 Toot Road, Cadiz, OH 43907 or through Paypal at Harcodogpoundvolunteers@gmail.com.

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