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franklin county times

Furr Fest fundraiser sees success

Blue Springs Volunteer Fire Department held Furr Fest Saturday as a means to help stray animals in Franklin County.

A bake sale, along with the sale of hamburgers and hot dogs, helped raise funds, and the fire department accepted donations of dog and cat food during the event.

The Colbert County Animal Shelter brought dogs that were ready to be adopted.

“Adoption is very important, especially right now, because all the shelters and rescues are packed full,” explained Colbert County Animal Control Officer Jessica Hogan. “Most of us are over capacity.”

Blake Mason, a firefighter at Blue Springs VFD, adopted his fifth furry friend, whom he named Alexis. “I’ve always been a big fan of dogs, and I always treat them like my family,” explained Mason.

Rhonda Bullion, reserve deputy and 911 dispatcher, and Steve Bullion, deputy, represented the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at a table for raising awareness about the county’s K-9 officers, Mambo and Sitka. The pair worked to raise money for Sitka, who joined the department a couple of weeks ago.

Mambo is a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, and Sitka is a 2-year-old German Shepherd. Sitka is training to become certified in narcotics detection, tracking, apprehension, article search and recovery and handler protection.

The fundraising efforts for Sitka were primarily for the current No. 1 need: an in-car kennel.

“We’re extremely happy with the turnout and all of the donations we got for Sitka,” said Rhonda Bullion. “We did a demo with Mambo to show drug detection and bite apprehension with one of the handlers.”

Laura Bonn, representing HOPE in Franklin County and Save Our Strays, took part in the day’s events as well. The groups encourage fostering and work with out-of-area shelters. They, along with other community volunteers, foster animals until they can be taken by the shelters. All supplies are provided free to those approved to foster.

Bonn and her family brought their foster dogs to the event: Trixie, who was set to leave Friday for an out-of-state rescue, and Frankie, who was set to leave for a rescue in Massachusetts Monday.

“Fostering is really rewarding,” explained Bonn’s daughter, Baillie Bonn. “The hard part is having to let them go, but letting them go means you can help another dog.”

Laura Bonn said explaining the process was an important part of the day’s activities. “We’ve been talking to people today and explaining how to foster and about how rescue works,” she said. “Fostering means we get to give the dogs the love they need and help them get ready for a new home.”

She said people showed a lot of interest. “A lot of folks have been asking questions and donating to Save Our Strays. All you need to provide to foster is space and love at your home.”

Bonn reported more than $2,000 raised.

The day’s festivities included a cornhole tournament. Colton Hester and Larry Hallman placed first. Raffle tickets were sold as part of the fundraiser.

“We had a lot of teams,” explained Hallman, Blue Springs assistant fire chief. “It went well. We had a good turnout, even though it was a hot day, and we want to thank everyone who came out to support the fundraiser.”

Brody Rikard and his father, Coty Rikard, were among those participating in cornhole.

“We like to play together,” explained Coty Rikard. “We like the fellowship of playing with all our friends and having a good time.”

Blue Springs Fire Chief and Franklin County EMA Director Mary Glass, said she was “very pleased” with how the festival went.

“We’ve had wonderful people come support our benefit,” she said, “and we’re very happy with the turnout we’ve had – very pleased with the results.”