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‘Barks & Bass’ tournament to benefit humane society

The COVID-19 pandemic has made fundraising a challenge for charitable organizations. The LaGrange-Troup County Humane Society, forced to cancel its annual Fur Ball Gala, is trying something new this year with a bass fishing tournament.

The tournament will take place Oct. 3 at Pyne Road Park on West Point Lake. Entry is $150 per boat, with registration closing Sept. 27. The humane society hopes to have 50 boats partake. Should that happen, prizes will be $1,312.50 for first place, $937.50 for second, $675.50 for third, $487.50 for fourth and $337.50 for fifth.

Half of the money from entry fees will go toward prize money, with the other half benefiting the humane society. Mandi Bono, executive director of the humane society, said they hope to raise about $4,000 for the humane society.

Raffle tickets will also be sold for $5 a piece, or 5 tickets for $20. Among the raffle prizes are a one-night stay at Home2 Suites, waterpark passes for Great Wolf Lodge, a membership at FMJ Armory, gift cards for local restaurants, a High Museum of Art membership and a Wild Leap Brew Co. package. Food will also be sold on site.

The idea came when Bono was at Highland Marina during a fishing tournament a few months back.

“We started talking with the tournament director, he suggested we do one [a charity tournament],” Bono said.

Georgia Bass Trail hosts several charity tournaments each year.

The humane society is in need of funds to pay for spaying and neutering dogs, as well as heartworm medication.

“Just like everybody else, COVID-19 has hit the humane society pretty hard,” Bono said, saying that they were struggling to pay for veterinarian services for dogs.

The city shelter, Bono said, has sent lots of dogs up north through Puppy Pipeline. Though the humane society has been full, between the two organizations there is some breathing room as adoptions have remained steady or even increased at times.

“They’ve got more time to take on a new pet,” Bono said of people working from home or quarantining.“What we’re seeing so far is still pretty good here.”

Bono thought the bass fishing tournament would be a creative, safe way of raising money. Outdoor transmission of the virus is unlikely, and social distancing is much more feasible while fishing than at a gala. Bono emphasized the event was open to anyone, regardless of whether or not they live in Troup county.

“We’re really hoping for a good turnout to try and raise money to save the lives of dogs,” she said.