The Humane Society of Madison County may soon have its forever home.
Thanks to the gifts of two area couples, the shelter has the opportunity to purchase the facility in which it’s currently operating — if officials can raise the remaining $20,000 needed to close the deal.
The possibility presented itself recently when Humane Society of Madison County (HSMC) Director Betty Peyton learned the organization has been named in an estate will.
Upon their passing, the late Molly and William “Bill” Glover, Madison County residents, left behind a legacy for the humane society to the tune of $120,000.
News of the gift — which came via a letter — shocked Peyton.
“I recognized their names and knew they were animal lovers,” Peyton recently recalled. “But, they were quiet about things. I was completely and utterly dumbfounded.”
Much like the Glovers, Peyton and her husband, George, have also been supporters of the humane society. In 2000, when the couple’s dog passed away, Betty became a shelter volunteer. It was something George suggested to help her cope with the grieving process.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a vet. But, I found out I am dyslexic during my senior year,” Betty recalled. “So, I decided I won’t be a vet. But, I fell into this and I love it.”
Her involvement continued to grow within the organization, leading up to her becoming shelter director in 2010. She serves as a volunteer director.
Previously, the humane society operated in a cramped space comprised of a cinder block building and adjacent trailers on state Route 38 outside London, receiving about $30,000 annually from county commissioners, Peyton said.
Everything changed when the Peytons, who operated White Tiger Graphics in London and are now “semi-retired”, found a property for sale on state Route 142 outside West Jefferson. Previously a church, the “perfectly sized” building was in a perfect location, Betty said.
The Peytons purchased the building and renovated the property, investing about $300,000 of their own money. According to the agreement, HSMC would lease the building from the Peytons for $1 a year. After 10 years, HSMC could purchase the property for a fair market price.
Those plans changed when the Peytons learned of the Glovers’ gift. They made an offer to the HSMC Board of Trustees: The Peytons have $140,000 remaining on the loan of the building. If HSMC uses the Glovers’ gift of $120,000 to mostly pay off what the Peytons owe, the Peytons will write off the remaining value as a donation.
To complete the transaction, HSMC must raise the $20,000 difference, and the Peytons will release the property to HSMC, taking a personal financial hit of $160,000 on the building.
“We’re OK with that,” Betty said, when asked about she and her husband’s investment. “We don’t have any children; our children are our dogs.”
Math calculations complete, it also means the HSMC will be able to purchase its building for $20,000.
To raise the money, HSMC has launched its “Shelter Their Future Campaign,” a capitol and endowment campaign slated to run through Labor Day.
To make this goal, HSMC is asking its supporters donate $20 each. Any additional funds will go towards establishing an endowment fund.
“It will help ensure the financial future of the organization beyond the lifetimes of us all,” Betty said. “It’s all about leaving a legacy.”
To donate, go online at www.hsmcohio.com, mail a check or money order to HSMC, 2020 Plain City-Georgesville Road, West Jefferson, OH 43162 or stop by the HSMC. Shelter hours are seven days a week this summer, except for July 4 and Labor Day.