2010-08-11 13:41:04.907

Lottery Player Anonymously Donates $1,000 Prize to Animal Shelter

Story Photo audio icon If you won $1,000, what would you do with the money?  One animal-loving Missouri Lottery player won a $1,000 prize and anonymously donated it to the Dogwood Animal Shelter, 1075 Runabout Drive in Osage Beach, on Aug. 6.  The player, who wishes to remain unidentified, purchased the winning "Mega MONOPOLY™" Scratchers ticket at Gerbes, 1159 E. Highway 54, in Camdenton.
The donation came as an unexpected blessing to the no-kill shelter, which relies on volunteers, fundraisers and community donations to remain in operation. 
It was during a fundraising activity, a weekly bingo game held in the facility’s community room, that shelter manager Shawne Mitchell learned about the donation. 
"She (the bingo chairperson) said, ’I have this ticket, and it was anonymously donated,’" Mitchell began.  "We’re talking and talking, and then she goes, ’By the way, it’s $1,000!’"                       
When she shared the news with shelter staff, "Everyone was like, ’You’re kidding?’  Everyone’s face just lights up, because we know what it will do for these animals."
According to Mitchell, there are often periods of time when the shelter doesn’t know how they’re going to cover the thousands of dollars it costs each month to care for the more than 200 animals residing there on a consistent basis.  She added that during the last several months, the shelter’s electric bill has more than tripled, running around $3,000.  On top of that, it costs another $3,000 to feed all of the animals and $1,000 to cover their flea and tick preventatives per month.
"That’s only the tip of the iceberg, in terms of costs, to keep everything going," she said.  "A thousand dollars is just an amazing thing.  We’re like, ’Yes! We get to pay bills this week!’"
She added that the entire staff was humbled by the donation, because they understand that "times are tough right now for everyone."
"With this economy and this being a no-kill shelter, it seems like the amount of animals we’re getting in from people losing their homes or jobs or, ’I can’t take care of this animal anymore,’ our incoming numbers have increased," Mitchell said.  "Therefore, our expenses have increased.  That’s across the board to a lot of people.  There are a lot of people right now that $1,000 would be a lifesaver."        
Since the shelter opened its doors in 1976, it has been providing shelter, rehabilitation and medical care to the Lake of the Ozarks’ growing stray and abandoned pet population.  To help curb the number of stray and abandoned animals in the area, the shelter also provides low-cost spay, neutering and micro-chipping services.  To date, more than 1,100 animals have been spayed and neutered on-site.
"What people might not realize about us is that since we’re a no-kill shelter, our animals might live here for their entire lives – never being adopted," she explained.  "It takes a lot of resources to care for hundreds of animals at a time.  We’re at our maximum capacity right now.  Adopting out one animal makes room for another homeless dog or cat."
The shelter is devoted to rescuing animals, but according to Mitchell, they "can’t do it alone."
"Donations like the one from the anonymous Lottery player help save the lives of more animals who would otherwise not get a second chance," she noted.
Dogwood’s adoption fee includes spay or neuter, vaccinations and micro-chipping.  To meet the adoptable animals, learn more about the shelter or to make a donation, visit www.daslakeoftheozarks.com.

"Mega MONOPOLY™," a $10 Missouri Lottery Scratchers game with a top prize of $2 million, officially began on Aug. 29, 2009. 

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