Brookings Regional Humane Society survives, thanks to volunteer help

Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson

f you go to Sioux Falls and drive down the gravel road to the Sioux Falls Humane Society, you’ll see a big building that is air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.

It houses dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils and various other kinds of animals, housed in separate cages.

If you go to the Brookings Regional Humane Society (BRHS) – well, you’ll end up driving all over the city because there isn’t one central location.

With just one-part time employee, the BRHS operates through the homes of their members and volunteers.

About 100 people can call themselves members of the BRHS. There’s a board of directors, committees and sub-committees, as well.

“This year, the college kids have just really helped out immensely,” member Paula Becker said.

Junior Jacy Riedmann is even on the board of directors, which is a first, Becker said.

The BRHS also gets help from a number of local businesses, including Paws Corner, Sutton Veterinary Clinic and the Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital.

Paws Corner cleans the pets when they are found as strays, while Sutton Veterinary Clinic and the Gentle Doctor Animal Hospital help with the spaying and neutering costs, which is taken care of by the BRHS.

They also make sure the animals get proper shots up to adoption day.

There’s still a great need for volunteers, though. Fundraising, helping with their annual rummage sale, and updating their Web site are just some of the tasks the BRHS is requesting volunteers for.

The BRHS did approach the Brookings City Council several years ago, requesting money to build a central location in Brookings.

“I don’t remember what year it was, but I do remember that a few people on the board of directors at that time put together a very professional-looking (proposal) request asking for (a certain amount of) money for this type of facility,” Becker said.

They conjured up SDSU engineers to do a building proposal for them, too, but the city council was not interested in providing money to help build a home for the BRHS, Becker said.

As a result, they do a number of fundraisers with the goal of building a facility.

“I believe if we could find the land and have someone come up with the money, I think different organizations … would help build it without charging a whole bunch of money,” Becker said.

A million-dollar endowment would allow them to keep the facility running, she said.

Foster parent and SDSU junior Lindsey Stewart believes that the fact that the BRHS doesn’t have a facility is actually a benefit.

“I think it’s a lot better for the animals in Brookings because they’re put in a home environment and they aren’t put in a kennel so they have the one-on-one attention that they need,” she said.

Stewart started volunteering last fall.

“I was trying to find a dog for myself and I saw (the foster parent information) on their Web site, so I went ahead and signed up for it,” Stewart said.

Stewart corresponded via e-mail and ended up taking in a beagle who had just been spayed.

“She was pretty weak and she threw up all over the floor, but it was OK,” Stewart said.

The beagle was adopted immediately, Stewart said.