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Humane society receives donation

June 17, 2011
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

WINTERSVILLE - Katherine Burns of Wintersville was excited to be attending the April 6 filming of "The Oprah Show" in Chicago and never imagined she would be coming home with a $1,000 donation for the Jefferson County Humane Society.

Burns got tickets to the show through Kristin Murdock, promotions manager at WTOV-TV. Burns, her daughter, Rachel Wright - who lives in Chicago - and Murdock attended the filming of the show.

It was part of Oprah Winfrey's memorable guests specials that included Stephen Paletta, who was given $1million by Oprah as part of her Big Give contest.

Paletta started GiveBack, an organization which allows people to start their own personal foundation or charitable savings account.

Each person in the audience was given $1,000 to start their own foundation and give the money to a charity, Burns said.

Burns started "Audrey's Friends," named after her dog, and knew immediately she wanted the money to go to the Jefferson County Humane Society.

Her daughter donated the money to an animal shelter in Chicago.

Burns, who has adopted several dogs and cats, said, "I wish I could give more."

Burns didn't specify how the humane society would use the money.

"They know what they need better than I do," she said.

Sally Wehr, county humane society president, said the $1,000 gift will be put toward the humane society's campaign to raise $5,500 to equip the medical room at the new Jefferson County Animal Shelter.

"If we are able to provide and install the proper medical equipment and medical supplies, it would make the medical room available, convenient and ready for local or visiting veterinarians to come in and treat the homeless shelter animals. Mrs. Burns' donation will be used in a way that will help many animals for many years," Wehr said.

Debbie Welsch, humane society board member, said the humane society will hold other fundraisers to purchase equipment for the medical room.

The county humane society has partnered with the Jefferson County commissioners to take care of cats at the shelter, provide volunteers at the shelter and coordinate animal adoption events at various locations.

State law does not allow county funds to be used for the housing of stray cats. The animal shelter's operating revenue comes from the sale of dog licenses.

Wehr said the animal shelter recently hosted a low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic for the public.

About 100 owned animals were spayed and neutered during the clinic. She said the community room at the animal shelter was used for check-in and recovery after the procedure.

"The new animal shelter is a wonderful asset to our community," Wehr said.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the campaign to equip the medical room at the animal shelter can do so by sending a donation to Jefferson County Humane Society, P.O. Box 233, Steubenville, OH 43952.

(Law can be contacted at

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