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Humane Society of Northwest Montana seeks donations following burst pipes

by ELSA ERICKSEN Daily Inter Lake
| February 7, 2024 12:00 AM

The Humane Society of Northwest Montana is reaching out for support after freezing temperatures in early January caused significant damage to its Charlotte Edkins Animal Adoption Center.

The Humane Society is holding a Boiler Blues Fundraiser from Thursday, Feb. 8 through Thursday, Feb. 22 to mitigate the repair costs. Executive Director Stacie DaBolt said the goal is to raise $30,000 during the two-week period. 

During a period of below-freezing temperatures from Jan. 5 to Jan. 12, multiple pipes in the adoption center burst and three major pieces of equipment related to the heating system broke. This caused significant flooding in the building and left the shelter without heat for several weeks.

The building typically houses 40 to 45 dogs and cats, but thanks to generous volunteers and foster families, DaBolt was able to find temporary homes for all of the affected animals within hours. 

The Humane Society repaired the water damage and replaced the broken parts of the heater and reopened the building on Feb. 3. The nonprofit is slowly welcoming back the displaced animals, but is now faced with a hefty bill.

DaBolt estimates that around half of the $30,000 will be needed to offset the already incurred repair costs. The other half will go to improving the building to prevent future incidents, including adding insulation in key attic spaces where equipment is housed.

“It’s not very often that we reach out to the community and ask for monetary funding, but this is one of those situations. If we didn’t have the help from the community through this fundraiser, we would be dipping into our operating funds and that would take away from the animals,” DaBolt said.

The Humane Society of Northwest Montana has been operating in the Flathead Valley since the 1980s, with the addition of the adoption center in 2004. The organization has facilitated the adoption of over 7,000 animals in that time, as well as providing numerous animal welfare education programs and pet ownership services to the community.

In addition to monetary donations, the Humane Society also depends on volunteers and foster families, and DaBolt hopes this emergency situation will encourage people to give their time as well.

“If people don’t have the funds to help us out, we are also really pushing for volunteers, especially for foster volunteers,” she said. “This is a perfect example of why they’re so important to have in these kinds of situations, so we can just call and say we need your help.”

DaBolt is encouraged by the amount of support that has already flowed in since the incident and is hopeful that the fundraiser will provide the Humane Society with the resources it needs to continue providing valuable services to both owners and animals in Northwest Montana.

“I want everyone to know that without their help, we would really be hurting this first quarter to take care of basic needs and all the things we do to get the animals ready for adoption,” she said. “This fundraiser is extremely important not just for our immediate needs, but for us to be secure moving forward for the rest of the year, and all of the support is very much appreciated.”

Donations to the Boiler Blues Fundraiser can be made online at https://humanesocietypets.com/boilerblues/, mail a check to P.O. Box 221, Kalispell, MT, 59903 or drop off donations at 100 Adopt A Pet Way. For volunteer or foster care information, inquire at the front desk, call (406)752-7297, or email volunteers@humanesocietypets.com.