St. Patrick’s Day Dueling Pianos fundraiser to benefit Jefferson County Humane Society

Back for a third year, the St. Patrick’s Day “Dueling Pianos” party has become the biggest fundraiser for the Jefferson County Humane Society.

The high-energy musical event will be held March 14 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the show beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 in advance for the show and food and $40 at the door, if the event hasn’t sold out, which it did in its initial two years.

Reserved tables are available for sponsors of the event.

Tickets are available at the Jefferson County Animal Shelter, 200 Airpark Drive, Wintersville; at Hauser’s Furniture located at 3905 Sunset Blvd., Steubenville; or from any Jefferson County Humane Society board member.

Questions can be directed to the humane society at (740) 314-5583. Those unable to attend who would like to make a donation toward the humane society’s programs can make checks payable to the Jefferson County Humane Society and mail them to P.O. Box 233, Steubenville, OH 43952.

“This is a fun evening with professional dueling piano players just as you would find in large cities,” said Sally Wehr, humane society president.

The event is billed as a “high-energy, entertaining, comedy routine, piano concert, sing-along, audience-interaction event.”

If you’re not familiar with the Jefferson County Humane Society, it is, according to its Facebook page, “a nonprofit organization, and we are not directly funded through any local, state or federal tax dollars. We receive no financial support from donations made to any regional or national animal welfare organization.”

Its mission is “to improve the lives of animals, alleviate their suffering and elevate public awareness of animal welfare issues. We safeguard, rescue, shelter, heal, adopt and advocate for animals in need, while inspiring community action and compassion on their behalf.”

Wehr said the humane society made several agreements with the Jefferson County Commissioners in 2013 that resulted in major changes at the Jefferson County Animal Shelter.

“In March of 2013, an agreement was reached, and it was decided by the commissioners that it would take two signatures to euthanize a dog unless there were visible and documented serious injuries that would cause the animal to endure severe suffering,” Wehr explained, noting a humane officer and a dog warden must both sign a form to euthanize a dog for any other reason.

The humane society also created a standard operating procedure manual for the shelter. “This started as a basic manual and continues to be a ‘living’ document in that it does change as does life in the shelter,” Wehr said.

On May 30, 2013, the commissioners and humane society signed an agreement for JCHS to manage the animal shelter, Wehr explained, and as of June 1, 2013, the humane society “now provides front office/customer service in that JCHS personnel answer phones, greet all public visitors, serve customers, perform adoptions and market the animals available for adoption.”

The humane society also features pictures of lost or stray animals and animals available for adoption on its Facebook page – Jefferson County Humane Society and Jefferson County Animal Shelter. Available pets also are listed on Petfinder and Adopt A Pet websites.

“One of the other major changes for the shelter is the use of animal shelter specific software,” Wehr continued. “Every animal that now enters the shelter goes through an intake process, is photographed and entered into the software. The animals are tracked such as for any necessary medications, temperament, spay/neuter, adopted to, etc.,” she said.

“We have established progressive programs and now supply medications and veterinarian care for the shelter’s homeless dogs and cats that previously did not exist,” Wehr noted. “We have put into practice new customer service programs, intake procedures, animal shelter computerized management software and have worked hard to increase opportunities to adopt animals housed at the shelter. We are very proud to have been able to secure sufficient grants and equipment contributions that have enabled us to provide and equip an in-house spay/neuter clinic for the shelter animals. As a result, adoption rates have increased, medical care is being provided, and the animals are being given a much better chance at a good life – all due to caring people who want a better life for animals in Jefferson County,” Wehr said.

The staff and board members work closely with rescues, according to Wehr, who explained that, during 2013, 99 animals went to approved rescues, including Pilots ‘n Paws, which is a group of pilots who will chart a course to fly in and pick up a dog and fly the dog to a rescue or a new home.

“In addition to new responsibilities, JCHS continues our other programs, including employing Jefferson County’s humane officers or ‘animal cops,'” Wehr said. “This program is run with donations, not tax dollars. Many people don’t want to believe it could happen in their community, but we receive cruelty calls literally every day and from all parts of Jefferson County. The sad plight of the animals we find in desperate situations is beyond measure, right here in our communities and neighborhoods. We continue to dedicate our staff and resources to the fight to end animal abuse and to make sure the people behind these cruel acts are brought to justice,” Wehr said.

The efforts provided by JCHS are supported by private donations of funds, equipment and volunteer time.