Sometimes loose-knit volunteer groups are all it takes to keep a program going, but sometimes it takes passionate people running a program like a business for maximizing revenue and better outcomes. That’s true for the Humane Society of Independence County.

The need is great within the county and requires a no-nonsense response.

It takes $300,000 to run the shelter annually. Owners of animals know the costs can stack up quickly: Vet bills, food, and keeping the utilities on, just to name a few.

HSIC works with the sheriff’s department to respond to both animal abuse and animal neglect calls, including dog-fighting rings. Last year the HSIC incurred $45,000 in expenses, after the sheriff’s department broke up a dog-fighting ring.

Recently the HSIC confiscated three neglected horses from the county, including a mare nursing a colt, from an undersized plot of land unsuitable for grazing.

The organization has gone before the quorum court in the past to request funding, but have always been denied.

“We’re not asking for them to make us sustainable, we’re just asking for help, because we certainly help them when they ask for it. We are definitely an entity that depends on the generosity of our community. That generosity has been fabulous, and it allowed us to continue to serving these animals even with all the challenges of COVID: where we couldn’t have our fundraisers that are always so successful and so much fun, we couldn’t run our store that is responsible for a large part of our sustainability,” said Scott Lancaster, with the HSIC.

The main source of revenue for HSIC was The Bargain Hound Thrift Store. With COVID-19 the Bargain Hound had to close for four months and about a month ago, the store moved to 480 East Central, by Carpet Corner, under the catchy moniker of “Fleaman Barkus.” The store’s name is a play on words of Neiman Marcus, the luxury department store group.

The board of the HSIC has a “Retire the Note’’ campaign ongoing to help off-set the cost of the building where the store is located. They requested a donation from the Kiwanis Club during the Friday meeting to help get the note retired. The board members will match donations up to $75,000.

The hopes are that the large retail area should triple or quadruple the revenue of the thrift store. This building is bigger and has more room to sell larger items, such as pianos, washers, and dryers.

Additionally, the thrift shop staff is very cognizant of appraising the quality of the items they are selling, and that delights donors.

For example, a name-brand shirt can easily sell for $9, as opposed to the “all shirts $1” method.

The store is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

A fundraiser held HSIC raised a total of $35,000, making it one of the most successful Bark in the Park events ever held.

For more information about the Humane Society of Independence County visit www.hsicshelter.org or give them a call at 870-793-0090.

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