Drive will pay for larger pet shelter

Three years ago, Courtney Plaisted, a busy mother of three, saw a need in her community and wanted to help.

"My husband and I are huge animal lovers, and we notice our children have the same respect and love for animals that we do," she said. "I found myself getting sad and helpless every time I would watch the ASPCA commercials on TV or see dogs chained up in yards.

"I became tired of simply complaining about the ignorance of some people and the way they treat animals ... so I decided to do something," Plaisted said.

For the third year in a row, this Moss Creek Village resident is organizing a drive to help the Humane Society of Concord and Greater Cabarrus County. This year she is focusing on its "Raise the Roof" Campaign to raise money for a larger animal shelter building.

Shelter holds only 8 dogs

"We are far from our goal. The current shelter is attached to animal control and only allows eight dogs at a time," Plaisted said. "This year I will be asking for cash donations made payable to the Raising the Roof fund. They are completely tax-deductible, and receipts can be supplied.

"However, we still need items like cat litter, paper towels, copier paper, clean gently used towels, cat beds, cleaning supplies and gift cards as well."

This animal-loving family has two pets of its own. Beagles Ellie and Mackenzie are greatly loved and are treated like part of the Plaisted family.

Not all animals, however, are so lucky.

"During the past 18 months, poor economic conditions have caused the numbers of abandoned and abused animals to increase at a staggering rate," Plaisted said. "Many people cannot afford to care for their animals or are forced out of their homes so their only recourse is to surrender them to animal control, where they face likely euthanasia.

"Our goal," she said, "is to end the euthanasia of healthy animals surrendered or abandoned in Cabarrus County, to increase adoption rates for adoptable animals and to increase spays and neuters of owned pets in our community, thereby reducing the overpopulation of unwanted animals."

'I can make a difference'

Besides her part-time job as a pediatric nurse at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, Plaisted volunteers at the shelter as well.

"I have been volunteering as the communications coordinator," Plaisted said. "As busy as I am, I love the feeling I get knowing that, while I cannot save all of the animals, I can make a little difference. I can't imagine any greater lesson to teach our children about selflessly helping others less fortunate ... whether it is for humans or for animals."

You can drop off donations at the Moss Creek Clubhouse, 9505 Moss Plantation Road, any time Dec. 5, or you can call Courtney Plaisted at 704-706-3229.

Other items needed include office supplies, dog treats (no rawhides, because of choking hazards) and anit-bactierial wipes. The organization is also seeking foster homes.