The Livingston County Humane Society has launched a fund drive to raise money to build a feline sanctuary.

The Livingston County Humane Society has launched a fund drive to raise money to build a feline sanctuary. A town meeting was held last week at Cultural Corner Art Guild and Gallery for interested individuals to learn more about the effort. Gerald Noble, president of the LCHS introduced the Mayor Chuck Haney, and board members of the LCHS. Lesley Patek, shelter guardian, provided an overview for the plans and operation of the feline sanctuary and its importance to decrease the number of euthanasia that has been shown when a facility such as this is added to a community. Tom Ashbrook, Foundation and Trust chairman, provided an update on the local foundations that are providing funding for the project and explained the need for community involvement for future awards to be received. Steve Holt, Community Outreach chairman, offered the process in which individuals and businesses can participate in making donations. A donation can be made in 2017, but a pledge card for 2018 can be completed and will be considered part of the fundraising process for the matching challenge which allows the donor to issue that payment in 2018 to receive another contribution tax deduction. Jonathan Staton, trust officer of Great Plains Trust and Asset Management of Overland Park, Kan., and trustee of the Drs. Morrill Foundation, was then introduced. Staton is a Chillicothe native, son of Jim and Mary Staton. He is a 2000 graduate of Chillicothe High School, received his degree in economics from Rhodes College, and earned his J.D. degree as well as his Master’s in Law in Taxation in 2008 from University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Drs. Morrill Foundation for the Betterment of Animals awarded the Livingston County Humane Society a $50,000 grant to assist in funding the new feline sanctuary which will be a new addition to the current animal shelter in Chillicothe and the first of its kind in a rural community in Missouri. This award will be used for the needs of the feline population and address the manner in which the animals will be able to interact with prospective adopting families through a non-cage setting. “This is absolutely spectacular,” stated Patek. “Although this is a dollar-for-dollar matching grant, our community and those involved with the board and other volunteers are committed to reaching our goal which must be completed no later than December 31, 2017. Our relationship with the Drs. Morrill Foundation and Jonathan has been a godsend.” Those attending the meeting had the opportunity to ask questions and see the architectural renderings for the structure. Approximately $10,000 was raised Thursday evening and other funds have been collected and pledged, giving the project a significant boost. To date, more than $25,000 has been raised. Anyone interested in donating can issue a tax deductible donation for 2017 and also complete a pledge card for a donation in 2018. Pledge cards can be obtained through the shelter or board members.