Paws in the Park

Kittens at the Joplin Humane Society await adoption. Currently, the facility only holds 2,000 animals at full capacity, with nearly 10,000 admitted each year.

Kittens at the Joplin Humane Society await adoption. Currently, the facility only holds 2,000 animals at full capacity, with nearly 10,000 admitted each year.

Emily Seigel

On Sept. 19, dog lovers and their furry friends will be able to experience a fun and relaxing day in the park, taking part in activities and helping out a local animal shelter in the process.

The 8th annual Paws in the Park, held by the Joplin Humane Society, will take place following the One Mile Fun Walk at Landreth Park in Joplin. The Fun Walk allows dog owners to raise funds for the Joplin Humane Society by receiving support form sponsors to walk the mile, said staff member Deeanna Leinmiller For those who wish to donate but cannot attend the event, there is also the option to sponsor the 2009 Paws in the Park mascot, Barney, in the walk.

The event keeps growing, Leinmiller said. This year’s event will also include live music entertainment, a first for Paws in the Park, featuring local artist Rich McCready. Past crowd favorites will also be included, such as pet tricks and pet contests.

For those who wish to adopt a pet, a mobile adoption will also be offered. In addition, raffle tickets for a 1974 VW “Thing” will be sold at the event.

The shelter will also be closed Sept. 19, allowing staff members to enjoy the day as well. Leinmiller, also a dog owner, said this was something the Joplin Humane Society had not done in the past, and she and the rest of the staff are looking forward to participating.

“It’s a fun day in the park with your animals,” she said.

In years past, the Humane Society has raised roughly $3-5,000 each year during this event, but this year the goal is to raise around $20,000, said Leinmiller.

At this point, funds raised will help with the new Joplin Humane Society building, whether directly or indirectly, she Leinmiller. The new facility, which is scheduled for completion around January 2010, will have the capacity to hold 10,000 animals. The current facility only holds 2,000.

According to the Web site JoplinHumane.org, of the 9610 animals taken into the shelter last year, 6810 were euthanized as a result of overcrowding.

Walk Day Registration starts at 7:15 a.m. behind the bandstand, and the Fun Walk starts at 9:15 a.m. sharp. Registration is available online, and more information about registration can be found at Joplinhumane.org.