Humane society opens thrift store to benefit animals

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Few industries have felt the ebb and flow of the turbulent economic times more than local animal shelters. Many have seen animal intake rise, while donations have fallen.

The Humane Society of Independence County has seen its donations dwindle recently, but it has now found another way to bring in money.

The humane society held a grand opening Wednesday for its new thrift store, called the Bargain Hound Boutique in Batesville. The idea came from neighboring shelters that have used the proceeds to benefit the animals in their care.

Three months ago, the local humane society took in a beagle named Steele.

"(Steele) had an injury to his front leg," said Stacey Britton, the shelter manager. "Another dog had bitten him, and he hadn't had any medical care."

The humane society tried medicine to remedy the problem, but the injury was too severe. Steele had to have his front leg amputated, but he's now getting around fine.

"There's always one dog that pulls at your heart, and I guess Steele is the one that has pulled at my heart," Britton said. "He's just a one-of-a-kind dog."

The shelter helped pay for Steele's surgery with money raised through its thrift store, which officially opened in May.

"All the proceeds benefit the animals at our humane society here," said Jo Spinks, the humane society board president. "It all goes for the food, the vet care and just all the basic care of the animals that we have in the shelter."

Spinks says the money spent at the shop on everything from books to blue jeans will hopefully be enough to fully support the shelter.

"We ask everybody as they check out please tell all their friends about us, and so far it's been working," Spinks said. "A lot of people come in say, oh, my friend told me to come by, you know, your shop was really cute and all of that. So, we've been doing very, very well."

The thrift store has only been open for two months, and sales have already brought in a steady stream of income, on top of donations. The money insures the shelter can provide a temporary place for more adoptable pets, like Steele, before they find their forever home.

"We can only do so much just with our funds," Spinks added, "so the more funds we have, the more animals we can take care of, the more programs we can offer like spay-neuter clinics – just everything that we can possibly do."

The Bargain Hound Boutique is located on Ramsey Street in Batesville, behind the Batesville Barber Shop.

The store is open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

People are encouraged to stop and shop on those days or drop off donations.

For more information, call the Humane Society of Independence County at 870-793-0090.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.