The move to control pet population in Blount County got a much needed “shot in the arm” recently when a foundation gave area pet organizations $80,000 in recurring grants.
The Charles and Sue Fouche Charitable Foundation gave grants to four organizations in the Blount County area. AnimalWorks received $35,000 and Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation, Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley and People Promoting Animal Welfare (PPAW) each received $15,000.
Attorney Jim Snyder of Clearwater, Fla., said the Fouche’s were former residents of Blount County and lifelong employees of Alcoa, Inc. In July of this year, Snyder notified in writing various animal care organizations about the foundation Sue Fouche created.
“Mr. and Mrs. Fouche were long time residents of Maryville, Tennessee, and devoted not only to their own animals, but to the greater population of animals in Blount County, Tennessee,” Snyder said. “While residents of Blount County, they both were active in animal protective services and keenly involved in the neutering and spaying of animals for the control of stray animals in the community.”
Snyder said that Sue Fouche created the foundation to support and serve the objective of controlling the pet population in Blount County and surrounding counties in a humane fashion. “Charles and Sue Fouche retired quite a few years ago and moved to Clearwater and have been my clients. Mr. Fouche died approximately five years ago this month, and Mrs. Fouche died a year ago September,” Snyder said. “They had no children but they were active with animal welfare programs while residents of Maryville and Blount County, and she ultimately decided she wished to continue providing for her hometown.”
Snyder said Sue Fouche wasn’t born in Blount County but considered it her hometown. She established the Charles and Sue Fouche Charitable Foundation to provide Blount County and adjacent counties with the goal of neutering and spaying animals and, after an appropriate amount of time, potentially to assist with capital improvements that carry out that goal, he said.
“It’s something very good for the community. It’s an $80,000 infusion. That’s a pretty significant amount,” he said. “That will be on an annual basis. We’re looking at a $2 million foundation that will be utilized 5 percent for expenses and distribution. We’re looking at $80,000 or so being able to be distributed.”
People Promoting Animal Welfare director Deborah Searfoss was thankful for the grant. “It’s wonderful they would do that,” she said. “We’re always appreciative when people think of us in any way. It allows us to continue the work we do, and the work we do is spaying and neutering every animal possible to end the killing at the shelters.”
Searfoss said the organization has been working 10 years to control the pet population. “This is a monumental amount for us. Normally we get small donations from low-income families who appreciate what we do,” she said. “To have someone leave us a nice sum of money in their will is an honor, and we’ll do the best we can with the money left us.”
Chris Protzman, president of Smoky Mountain Animal Care Foundation, said the donation is a wonder gift. “It speaks to the need for some continuing development for a long term solution to homeless pets,” he said.
The donation provides a real symbolic and powerful statement. “It comes down to individuals stepping up and making a statement of significance of their own time, money and effort to curtail the homeless pet population in Blount County,” he said.
Ann Contole, president of the board of directors of AnimalWorks, praised the foundation for the grant. “This $35,000 just makes it possible to reach so many of those who can’t afford our services, and we already have low prices,” she said. “What we are able to do is provide no-cost spay/neutering to qualified low-income families, and it has been wonderful,” she said. “The Fouches wanted to help their community, and they’ve given this money to help in the community. We’re trying to fulfill their wishes.”