AUCTION: Benefit causes tails to wag

COLUMBIA CITY ­­ ­— The fur was flying Saturday night when bidding got competitive at the 13th Annual Humane Society of Whitley County Benefit Auction.There were many items that had the crowd salivating, but when Rex Schrader of Schrader Real Estate and Auction stepped up to the microphone, the animals that would benefit from the auction were the true winners.Preliminary results show approximately $17,000 was raised from the benefit.Jeanne List, the auction’s clerk for the night, has been involved with the humane society since it started in Whitley County.“The shelter provides such an amazing service,” she said.“It gets by without any funding from the county, yet provides classes and training and so many other things that is equal to the bigger cities’ shelters.”At the benefit were animal lovers of all kinds. Dr. Mike Mawhorter, from Line Street Veterinary Hospital, was there commanding a table of supporters. “There used to be nothing in the way of a shelter,” he said. “The attitude from community leaders was to take care of it (stray animals) yourself. Now we have the shelter which is great. It takes a lot of work and dedication and fills a valuable need. “Lindsay Pease is the society’s director and has worked to make the shelter more than just a home for the four-legged homeless.“We wanted to change the perception of the shelter in the community,” she said. “It’s about giving back. We’ve started taking some of the animals to area nursing homes. You should see the way the faces of those people light up. It’s good for them and good for the animals.”Since coming on as the director in 2011, Pease has started some new programs which have been a great source of help to those who take part. “We offer a lot of different classes. We want the shelter to be a place of education,“ she said.“I want the community to know that the shelter is here to be of service. We want to be an advocate for animals. Animal cruelty is on the rise in our area. It’s not just something that happens on TV or in big cities. It is happening right here. People should know that we are here to help give animals a safe place to live until we can find them a good home and that we are here to help them be good pet owners. If someone is having any issue with their pet, they should know that they can call us. We want to help,” said Pease.Mark Espich, the board’s president, was pleased with night’s results.“We had a pretty good turn out and great items for the auction,” he said. “Pretty much everything sold. We had really good bidders. I want to thank all the sponsors and those who donated items and those who bid on items.”The benefit is not the only time the community can give to the Humane Society of Whitley County. Anyone interested in helping fund the society can visit and donate online. There is also a list of items the shelter is always in need of. For a list of these items or to find out more on services the society offers, visit the website or call 244-6664.