Several members of the Stone County community met Monday night to form the Stone County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SCSPCA).
The new organization will replace Wiggins Animal Rescue, a group which had tried to work with the City of Wiggins and Stone County to provide shelter and veterinarian services for stray and abandoned animals.
Katie Stonnington, the driving force behind Wiggins Animal Rescue, was elected as chairman of the executive committee while Carol Smith was elected vice-chairman, Barbara Allen treasurer, Sandra Kirke secretary and Sandy Smith member-at-large.
The newly elected board voted to apply for tax-exempt status as a 501 C3 non-profit corporation.
Wiggins Animal Rescue had never had tax-exempt status and had never been incorporated and Stonnington said the group’s acronym, WAR, had bothered some people.
“They said it stood for WAR and all we ever do is fight,” she said with a laugh.
Wiggins Animal Rescue had been known to bump heads with city and county officials over the care of stray and abandoned animals in those jurisdictions.
The SCSPCA’s mission statement reads, “The Stone County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is organized to provide humane care and treatment for all animals needing protection in the area served by the society; to seek to return lost animals to their owners; to seek suitable homes for animals without owners; to discourage cruelty to animals of all types; to influence public opinion with respect to care, treatment, and welfare of animals; to educate the public in all animal welfare areas; to promote spay/neuter programs as a method of animal population control. In its care and disposition of animals, the society shall maintain minimum standards prescribed by the State of Mississippi or it shall exceed said standards.”
Stonnington said educating the public was key to the success of the new organization.
“People don’t know what to do, or for that matter, what they can do,” she said.
While the SCSPCA has no immediate plans to purchase property for an animal shelter, Stonnington said she would, “like to see our own, privately owned shelter.”
The SCSPCA will next meet at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 28 at The Whistle Stop Café.
Anyone interested in taking part in the organization is encouraged to attend.