On Aug. 18, FOTAS celebrated its volunteers, accomplishments, and its vision for the future at our third annual meeting for members.

The meeting highlights are worth sharing for those who wonder what we have been up to.

The 2012 FOTAS Annual Meeting was billed as a “Potluck Snack Celebration,” and nearly forty stalwart members braved the midday heat on the grounds of the County Shelter.

Borrowed tailgate tents were pitched in front of Herby Brown, the 1979 Airstream converted to FOTAS’ signature Rescue Waggin’, and the podium was the ramp to C.A.T.S. (Cats at the Shelter), a lovely adoptable cat colony, another FOTAS contribution to the County Shelter.

Three tables covered with food, iced beverages in coolers below, entertained the attendees until the meeting was called to order.

The FOTAS treasurer report was an appropriate launch to the meeting/celebration: FOTAS has no debt, and no real overhead as an all-volunteer organization.

This allows all of the money raised, after expenses, to directly benefit the county’s homeless animals.

In addition to Herby and C.A.T.S., here are some additional ways FOTAS has invested over $75,000 in the county Shelter to date:

• Commercial Laundry Equipment• Large dog Play Yard

• Stainless Steel Cage Banks for surgical recovery

• Grooming tub and table• Platform Scale

• Renovated the Autoclave for surgeries

• Toys, treats, food, flea & tick treatments and shampoo

• Kennel decks and Kuranda beds to get the dogs off the concrete

FOTAS has also raised enough money to fulfill its commitment to the County in the MOU for the new shelter construction: the county makes the funds for the building a priority and FOTAS pays for the Architectural and Engineering costs.

FOTAS has over 1000 members and roughly 75 active volunteers with both lists still growing. Our volunteers realize FOTAS’ mission by:

• Making shelter animals more adoptable with training, exercise and TLC;

• Fostering mamas and puppies or kittens, babies without mamas, and special needs cases;

• Organizing and staffing fundraisers like our benefit breakfasts, golf tournament, Hunter Pace, Giving Parties, and, of course the grand event: Woofstock Festival of Mutts and Music (to be augmented this year by better weather, a Mutt Strut and, we hope, another Motorcycle Ride-to-Woofstock on 11/10/12);

• Staffing adoption events at Petsmart and local businesses;

• Establishing and expanding our Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) to target local communities; and,

• Maintaining our database, website, social media, thank-you-note and canister program, and writing this column.

In short, FOTAS is volunteers and donors.

The meeting ended with the introduction of two new board members, Frank Townsend and Joanna Dunn Samson, our own banker and lawyer to help steward our growing pains.

FOTAS’ mission is, in part, to help the Aiken County Animal Shelter be a healthy, happy place where no adoptable pet has to go to die.

Last year 5,011 unwanted animals came into our shelter, FOTAS helped the county shelter save 1,652 or 33%. Now that’s worth celebrating.

Aiken County Animal Shelter: “By the Numbers”

FY 11-12City of AikenAiken County

Imp. Dogs/Cats6565,011Ret. to Owner

143307Trans /adopted1591,345

Euthanized3763,808Aiken County Shelter “Pets of the Week” are HALF PRICE*!

(See .jpg attachments for photos).

MILLIE - Adult chihuahua/terrier mix who needs a lap and a hug. She will be so grateful you picked her! $35

KINDLE – Baby male Siamese mix. He’s a rare beauty for only $35.

*All adoption fees include: Spay/Neuter, heartworm test, all shots, worming, and microchip and are half price thru 9/8/12!