HELENA - The "Grinch" made a trip to Jefferson County this weekend, and instead of stealing Christmas, the Grinch helped raise money for an animal shelter in the county.
The Grinch stopped by the Montana City and Boulder volunteer fire departments to take pictures with families on Saturday.
People could pose for a photo and snap it with their own phones.
There was a suggested donation of $10 for the Animal Shelter Care of Jefferson County's facility project and a food donation to Jefferson County Food Share.
The monetary donations all went to the Animal Shelter and Care of Jefferson County's project to build a facility for lost, stray and abandoned animals.
“It’s a huge need for a shelter,” Animal Shelter and Care of Jefferson County President Cheryl Haasakker said. “Our small foster network and the one down in the Whitehall area is just not enough.”
Haasakker said Animal Shelter and Care of Jefferson County deals with hundreds of animals each year.
They coordinate lost and found animal postings on their Facebook page, and place homeless animals with foster families since they don’t have a facility to house animals.
Right now, Haasakker said the closest animal shelters are in Helena and Butte.
Animal Shelter and Care of Jefferson County is trying to build a facility because the number of animals in need of help is on the rise.
“In the last two years, we’ve noticed a huge increase of dumps of abandoned animals,” Haasakker said. “Jefferson County also has a huge cat and feral cat population.”
According to Animal Shelter and Care of Jefferson County’s website, the goal is to build a facility big enough to house 20 dog runs, 42 cats, a community cat lounge, indoor activity room and space for services like their low-cost spay, neuter and vaccination programs.
The entire project is expected to cost about $725,000.
Haasakker said they have raised enough money to build an outbuilding with four dog kennels and storage space.
That building is expected to be complete by the summer of 2023.
Haasakker said it’s not a permanent fix, but it will at least help house some animals until the full facility can be built.
“We don’t have enough foster homes, and there’s no place to take them,” Haasakker said.
Animal Shelter and Care of Jefferson County has more information about its facility project and other services online.