The Humane Society of Blue Ridge (HSBR) is many people with many objectives and one collective heart for saving and bettering the lives of dogs and cats, puppies and kittens. This organization first came into being in 2006 when one person, Anne Williamson, saw how many animals were homeless and roaming the streets and roads of Fannin County. It became clear to Anne and her friends that there was a need to do something about this problem. It would require the help of many people who cared about not only the animals, but the effect strays can have on the surrounding community. The solution was to establish a 501(c)(3) non-profit Humane Society that services all of Fannin County.
HSBR filed in 2007 and this status was achieved in February 2009.
The next step was to determine what services the HSBR could provide and how they would be financed. Local veterinarians and kennels were asked to provide services at reduced costs and they did. Many members of our community became adoptive and foster homes for our rescued animals and many animals were transported out of state to their new homes. Various fundraising activities were initiated to help with costs. One of the primary initial projects was to open an HSBR Thrift Shop. The Thrift Shop opened in 2007. Funds were coming in but the expenses still outweighed the income. In addition, HSBR still had no facility that could provide an intake center and temporary housing for the animals.
Due to the creative initiative of HSBR volunteers, in early 2008 the Thrift Store was enlarged by moving the location to a larger building in a high traffic area, hiring a manager, reaching out to the community for quality donations, and addressing the issue of presentation. These efforts were rewarded and the HSBR Thrift Store now averages $13,000 a month. The profits from the store are currently covering most of the animal medical expenses.
In addition, HSBR provides a low-cost spay/neuter program for Fannin County resident pet owners. SNIP (Spay Neuter Incentive Program) was created in January 2012. Since its inception over 1,000 animals have been spayed or neutered with the assistance of HSBR. The majority of the cost for this service is paid by HSBR. This program helps control unwanted dog and cat population in Fannin County. It also helps control rabies outbreaks, as all animals must have a current rabies vaccination before any surgery.
Since 2007, HSBR has provided pet food to low-income pet owners who cannot afford the additional expense of buying pet food. Donated pet food is sometimes provided by various pet food companies. Volunteers pick-up the food in Atlanta when it is made available. To help supplement this program, food or money are often donated by local businesses and private citizens.
HSBR has initiated additional fundraising projects. The first annual Taste of Blue Ridge was held in
2008. Local area restaurants, merchants and businesses in the community have championed the cause and provided great support for this event. Taste of Blue Ridge is an evening of great food and drink,
entertainment, and silent and live auctions that showcase the community. This event draws more than 600 people from all over Georgia as well as North Carolina and Tennessee. All proceeds from this event are now primarily dedicated to the goal of building the future HSBR Adoption & Education Center scheduled for construction in 2015.
The annual Fannin County Paws In The Park features a 5K Run and Dog Walk. Many area animal rescue groups participate. Information booths and vendors showcase their products and services. This fun and interactive event provides an opportunity to educate the public, both local and visitors, on animal-related issues. Any proceeds HSBR receives from this project go into the general fund to be used as needed.
In August 2011, HSBR purchased 16 acres on Mineral Springs Road in Blue Ridge, Fannin County, Ga. An office trailer was moved on-site in June 2013 to house our animal operations.
The HSBR opened a Community Dog Park on the same grounds in March 2013. Funds for the Dog Park came from donations dedicated specifically to this project. Maintenance for this site is currently provided by volunteers.