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story.lead_photo.caption Sale: Shoppers rummage through items during a sale benefitting the Union County Animal Protection Society (UCAPS).
Testing: UCAPS manager Tanja Jackson tests out a stand mixer during a rummage sale fundraiser Saturday.

The Union County Animal Protection Society (UCAPS) held a rummage sale yesterday to raise money for its general operation fund.

The event was UCAPS’ first crack at a fundraiser of this sort and was “thrown together” in a couple months. The idea was given to the organization by someone in the community, said Executive Director Mike Means.

“(Proceeds) could go to a million things, generally, that we need, anything from medical expenses for the animals to building repairs and stuff like that. It’s not designated for anything specifically … We were running low on funds so we thought it would be a good fundraiser for the shelter,” he said.

Community members brought items ranging from kitchenware and furniture to ride-on toys and clothing. UCAPS stocked the old El Dorado High School cafeteria until Friday evening.

It costs about $220,000 to operate the “second chance” shelter and about 4.5 percent of its operation fund comes from the county. The other $210,000 comes from community donations, adoption fees and fundraising efforts, said President Sandra Maguire.

“We get no money from the city, no money from any of the cities in the county or anything like that,” Maguire said. “Our employees are paid minimum wage, which is a testament to their commitment to the animals. They work their fannies off. We can’t pay overtime or anything like that — no benefits.”

UCAPS also hosts spay and neuter clinics throughout the year, which cost upwards of $5,000, Maguire said. Assistant Manager Ashley Bearden said that before noon over 25 animals were signed up for treatment.

“I understand some people let their dogs run loose in the county, but they still have to have that rabies tag from the vet. That’s a state law, so we’re required by state law to do that for every animal,” Maguire said. “State law also says (that) every rescue, shelter, city pound, any organization like that is required to spay and neuter before the animal leaves the shelter.”

UCAPS operates as a “no-kill” shelter, committed to getting animals paired with an owner. Means said animals housed at the shelter “have no expiration date.”

Maguire said the shelter goes through about 4,000 pounds of dog food per month. The South Arkansas Pantry Fillers recently donated over 3,700 to UCAPS, said Manager Tanja Jackson.

UCAPS will have a fundraiser event, similar to an Adoption Day, next month at PetSense, Maguire said.

“We’ll have a dunking booth. A local artisan unit is doing paintings, paw prints and the rocks. Of course, people can come into PetSense and buy a bag of dog food they’ll donate to us … If we don’t have to buy it, that’s nice.”

According to the store’s Facebook page, its Adopt-a-thon will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 7. PetSense is selling $1 raffle tickets and all proceeds will go to UCAPS.

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