The Blue Mountain Paranormal Society members were so moved by a recent story in the TIMES NEWS that they raised $200 in the group to donate to the Carbon County Friends of Animals cat shelter in honor of Lehighton Police Officer Matt Arner. Founder Bob Schaeffer was on hand Friday afternoon as well as Arner to donate the money to the shelter.
"We talked among our group and were moved by the story of Officer Arner saving a poisoned cat in Lehighton borough so much that we wished to make a donation in his honor to the shelter," said Schaeffer. "In the spirit of the Christmas season, I would like to challenge local organizations to match or beat our donation to help these cats and kittens survive and find homes."
Shelter staff members Darlene Zehner, Jerilynn Derhammer and Melissa Holland were on hand to accept the donation. Zehner said the shelter was appreciative of the donation and mentioned that especially in this economy every bit of support helps.
Arner said the story began when he was called by a resident who complained that a rabid cat was near his home. Upon investigating, Arner discovered the cat now named "Arnie" foaming at the mouth, but not displaying the aggressiveness normally seen in rabid animals. As Arner observed him, he said the cat seemed less violent and more in distress.
"I don't know who poisoned it or where he came from, but I knew he needed assistance," the officer said. Arner brought the cat to the shelter were the staff arranged for medical assistance. "They were wonderful and although the cat incurred medical bills, the shelter took care of them," he added.
Derhammer said, "Arnie is fully recovered and now in foster care."
Schaeffer said the group read about Arner's story in the paper and decided to help out. He is hoping that other groups would make matching donations. "This shelter does what it can, but it cannot do it alone. It needs all of our help to continue."
Arnie is one of 175 cats that need a home but are staying in the shelter. Zehner said people can visit the shelter and adopt any one of them. For more information, call (570) 325-9400.