Precious Paws seeks $85,000 for building campaign

Veterinarian Christine Mulliken cuddles Isabella, a cat belonging to a Precious Paws client. Mulliken is a veterinarian from Pittsburgh who drives to Franklin every week to perform low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for Precious Paws.

Precious Paws is stepping up fundraising efforts for its capitol building campaign.

The animal rescue organization wants to secure a permanent location to serve a base of operations for its Spay Neuter Your Pet (SNYP) program and other activities.

The organization currently operates a surgical suite out of rented space in Franklin and is seeking to raise $85,000 to stay there.

“We would like to do more for our community,” Precious Paws president Theresa Weldon said.

A permanent space would allow the organization to expand and it has some big plans, Weldon said. One plan is to allow some space for humane cases that come in before they are sent to foster care. Other plans include a pet food pantry and puppy rumpus room.

Volunteers now store pet food at their homes but a food pantry would offer a one-stop shop, Weldon said.

Since opening in April 2014, Precious Paws has performed 2,700 spay and neuter surgeries. A grant from the E.V. and J.L. Peters Charitable Trust allows for 25 percent of the surgeries to be performed free or at very low cost, Weldon said.

The organization’s work has resulted in a decline in the feral and stray cat population and has decreased intakes into the Venango County Human Society, she said.

Only two paid staff – veterinarian Christine Mulliken and a veterinary technician – are on Precious Paws’ payroll. The rest of their work is performed by volunteers.

The spay/neuter clinic is open every Tuesday with expanded hours during cat breeding season in the spring and summer, Weldon said.

So far Precious Paws has generated a few ideas to come up with the funds for its building campaign, Weldon said.

A vendor craft fair is planned for Saturday, April 2, at the Seneca Volunteer Fire Department building.

A kayaking event is being organized for June, Weldon said.

Donations may be made online at the crowdfunding site You Caring at web address

One anonymous contributor already donated $25,000 and by Monday the organization had raised $25,155 toward its $85,000 goal.

“If we have ever helped you, if you have ever used our services, or if you simply love animals and want to support a no-kill animal rescue that believes all animals deserve to live, please consider donating to our fundraiser,” the Web site reads.

Finally, Precious Paws is selling “wallet pet safe cards” for pet owners to carry in their wallets.

The cards are to be found by first responders if a pet owner is involved in an accident or is unconscious. Pet owners fill the card out with the name of a person who should be alerted to take care of their pets in case of emergency.

The wallet cards were designed by Precious Paws volunteer Leah M. Anson. They are on sale for $1. Information about how to obtain them is available on the Precious Paws Animal Rescue/SNYP Facebook page.

The cards will also be available at SNYP clinics and adoption events.