Dinner raises funds to assist Happy Tails

Dinner raises funds to assist Happy TailsPictured, Terri Pelletier donates a check to Gail Ghinger, both are volunteers for Happy Tails, Inc. Provided photo.

The Women of the Owego Moose recently hosted a Halupki, or stuffed cabbage dinner at the Owego Lodge to raise funds for Happy Tails, Inc., an animal rescue group in Owego that is helping stray cats. When it was over, they raised over $1,100 to benefit the trapping, spay and neutering of homeless cats in the area. 

Terri Pelletier, who is a Moose Lodge member, helps some of the stray cats in her own neighborhood, and wanted to do something to help the local non-profit organization that assists her in this effort.

In some Owego neighborhoods, stray cats may keep the mice population down but they can multiply quickly, causing a nuisance and possibly inbreeding, which leads to other problems. Cats who are in heat may also fight and harm other strays or domestic cats. 

Happy Tails, Inc. has been running its trap-neuter-release program for years. Don Woodard and Ken Willet have been heading the program in Owego and have vetted hundreds of cats. Not only does the program spay and neuter incoming cats, but it provides some medical treatments and vaccinations for the cats to have a clean bill of health before getting released or re-homed.

Over the years, Pelletier herself has taken in strays for medical treatment and has even kept some as pets; but most of the time Pelleteir finds forever homes for the cats. She estimates that she has gotten approximately 30 cats off the street and into homes. The cats that aren’t keen to people get released back outside in what is referred to as colonies, where someone serves as a caregiver.

Pelletier was a pivotal part of the fundraiser that the Owego Moose Lodge held. Betsy Balshuweit, another Woman of the Moose, said Pelletier did nearly all of the Halupki cooking, and the organization and promotion for the dinner. 

Three hundred Halupki dinners later, the Women of the Moose and the public were able to again raise money for a cause that is helping the community, which is a central part of its mission. 

To learn more about Happy Tails, Inc. in Owego, you can find them on Facebook.

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