"Oh, you must know Catsby!" Betty Straw Brown posts with a black cat ready to support the Humane Society of Morgan County at their annual Howl-o-Ween Pawty. Photo by Leila Dycus

“Oh, you must know Catsby!” Betty Straw Brown posts with a black cat ready to support the Humane Society of Morgan County at their annual Howl-o-Ween Pawty. Photo by Leila Dycus

By Leila Dycus, Intern

People and pets are coming together to plan the Humane Society of Morgan County’s (HSMC) Howl-O-Ween Pawty, set for the end of the month.

“That’s why a fundraiser of this sort is not only for the community to understand we not only help animals, but we’re helping people. We don’t get funding from anywhere else,” the HSMC’s Betty Straw Brown said.

This year’s event will be hosted at the Madison Tea Room on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 6:30-9 p.m. The theme for the evening is “The Great Catsby” and attendees are encouraged to dress up in their best 1920s attire or cat-like costume.

According to Brown, the idea for the event came from another animal rescue out of Atlanta that hosted an event called the “Maskfurade.” The Morgan County Humane Society had been playing with hosting an event like the Maskfurade for a while. The idea behind the event included supporters dressing up and coming out to back the cause.

“That came from Belinda, our director, because ‘The Great Gatsby’ came out earlier this year and when we started talking about a fund-raising event about five or six months ago, Belinda said how about ‘The Great Gatsby’ and call it ‘The Great Catsby,’” said Brown.

The theme will drive the costumes and the decorations for the evening. The Howl-O-Ween Pawty will be the second event of its kind for the HSMC. Last February the society hosted the Furry Valentine event, which raised nearly $3,000.

This Halloween event will include a silent auction comprised of gift certificates from various local businesses, as well as other great items. The night will also include music, dancing and food with special homemade desserts. Keeping with the theme, the original “Great Gatsby” movie will serve as a background and the outdoor patio will be open for guests to enjoy. Tickets are $50 and can be found by contacting the Humane Society over the phone. All proceeds go to benefit the Morgan County Humane Society for general purposes.

“We’re not dealing with cereal boxes, we’re dealing with little minds, little furry animals, so somebody has to take care of them because they need constant care,” said Brown, speaking about the way that Belinda refers to the HSMC center’s residents.

The fact that the funds go to the daily running of the center often turns supporters away from attending events such as the Halloween Pawty, but the HSMC does much more than just caring for the areas four-legged friends.

“We want to be able to remind people that the Humane Society is working really hard to service not only the animal community but schools, nursing homes, clubs and so much more. With everyone’s support, the Humane Society can do many great things in addition to saving animals’ lives. We love this community and love sharing out adoption center with everyone,” said Belinda Bell.

As far as community outreach, HSMC Director Belinda Bell has played a huge role in educating the youth about animals and their care. Currently, Bell runs animal clubs at Morgan County Middle School and Lake Oconee Academy.

“Being able to get out and get with the kids and talk about different things and animal care is just really, really neat. We go places and the kids call me the ‘dog lady;’ they don’t remember my name but they always remember my dog,” said Bell.

The center is open to visitors and especially to area students. Local 4-H Clubs and schools have the ability to experience the work that the Humane Society does. One of the most important lessons, according to Brown, that the Humane Society wishes to teach is the idea that animals aren’t disposable and the responsibilities in owning furry friends.

“We’re making a difference in the community, not just in animals’ lives but in people’s lives too. We’re able to provide community service to people. Every day we get more community service members and volunteers,” said Bell.

Beyond education, the center also seeks to provide locals with affordable veterinary care. They are constantly looking for grants in order to help people keep their pets. Brown and Bell discussed how often times people are forced to give up their animals due to lack of funds needed to provide their pets with basic needs.

While the Morgan County Humane Society loves its central community it also wants to impact animals and people in the larger area. The center takes animals as far as Augusta and Atlanta in order to connect them with forever homes. In order for that to happen, however, they need the support of the community they so desperately try to serve.

Contact the Morgan County Humane Society at (706) 343-9977 or visit www.HumaneMorgan.org for tickets and more information about how you can help out.