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Randolph Commission assists animal groups with funding

The Inter-Mountain photo by Edgar Kelley Abigail Hohn of the Kitten Holler organization gives a presentation to the Randolph County Commision Thursday at the James F. Cain Courthouse Annex in Elkins.

ELKINS — Two area organizations that cater to the needs of animals came to the Randolph County Commission Thursday seeking help.

At the conclusion of Thursday’s regular meeting at the James F. Cain Courthouse Annex, the commission held an emergency meeting to discuss an issue with the Randolph County Humane Society.

Commissioner David Kesling, sitting beside Commission President Chris See and Commissioner Chris Siler, said he had received two calls from the Humane Society’s Tina Vial about issues that took place at the organization’s facility recently.

“I was contacted by Tina last night and she had told me that the boiler heating system had died,” Kesling said. “And then she called to let me know that the hot water tank died today. Due to reduced fundraising capacity the past two years because of COVID, they don’t have the money for the repairs. So they came to the County Commission seeing if there was any way we could help out because they have no heat or no hot water.”

Kesling made a motion to supply the RCHS with $11,000, which was the estimate Triangle Heating gave the organization for the total cost of the repairs. Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of the motion. The money will be taken from the ARP fund.

During Thursday’s regular meeting, Abigail Hohn from the organization Kitten Holler gave an informal presentation to the commission and requested funding.

Kitten Holler is an informal cat and kitten rescue group based out of Mill Creek that specializes in trap-neuter/spay-return of feral cats. Its goal is to get cats off the street, get them socialized and then adopted.

“Our mission is to help cats and humans in Randolph County by stemming the population growth of feral cat colonies,” Hohn explained. “Reducing death and suffering of homeless cats, finding adoption for kittens, and helping community members get veterinary care for pets is what we want to do.”

Hohn, who started the non-profit organization in September 2021, requested $600 from the commission in order to register as a private 501(c)(3), which is a portion of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and a specific tax category for nonprofit organizations. Organizations that meet Section 501(c)(3) requirements are exempt from federal income tax.

“We are a very small group of volunteers. We have no paid employees, although we are registered as a business with the state of West Virginia,” Hohn told the commissioners. “This funding request is to just cover the fee to apply with the IRS to get 501(c)(3) status. For a nonprofit just starting out, that is quite a significant amount for us. But once we do get the 501(c)(3) status, there are going to be a lot of benefits, like being able to apply for grants.”

Kesling applauded Hohn’s passion for Kitten Holler and the commission voted unanimously to approve the funding request. The money will be taken out of the courthouse contractuals fund.

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