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Posted: January 16, 2010 4:08 p.m.

Oak Hill Animal Hospital charity drive a success

Submitted photo/

For a good paws: Newton County Humane Society Director Betty Bellairs receives a check and other donations from Dr. Beth McElhenny of Oak Hill Animal Hospital.

Even with the current economic downturn, Oak Hill community members proved that the Christmas Spirit still exists. In spite of high unemployment rates, furloughs and other financial strains, the Christmas Charity Drive at Oak Hill Animal Hospital has raised much-needed funds and supplies to benefit the Newton County chapter of the Humane Society.

The drive, conducted during the entire month of December, collected food, paper towels, pet carriers, cat litter and other necessary pet items, and raised a total of $150 in cash donations. Oak Hill Animal Hospital matched the contributions, making a $300 donation for needy animals in Newton County.

In Newton County, the Humane Society is directed by Betty Bellairs and does not currently have a physical shelter. Bellairs works closely with Newton County Animal Control to help find homes and provide care for unwanted, neglected, sick or abused animals.

This year, as Georgia's unemployment rates have soared, many families have surrendered pets because they can no longer afford to provide for them. This has resulted in overcrowded shelters and rescue groups operating at, or above, capacity.

Dr. Beth McElhenny, veterinarian at Oak Hill Animal Hospital, praised the response from clients and community members in response to the increased needs of animals in this area.

"It warms the heart to see the generosity of animal lovers, especially in hard times. We wanted to provide a special service to the community over the Christmas season, and we were tremendously pleased with the response," McElhenny said. "I hope to make it an annual project."

Community members may still donate supplies or funds to needy animals by contacting Newton County Animal Control at (770) 786-9514 for a copy of its "wish list," or by bringing the items to Oak Hill Animal Hospital located at 5274 Highway 20 S during normal business hours.


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