Dogged Determination

Mary Cervini.

Mary Cervini.

A Henderson County nonprofit working to reduce the number of unwanted pets got a major boost in June. Henderson County leaders voted to enter into a contract with Community Partnership for Pets that will allow the nonprofit organization to use $50,000 in county dollars to continue its mission of offering low-cost spay and neuter surgeries to dog and cat owners. It’s the first time the nonprofit started by Mary Cervini has received county funding in its seven-year history. To date, the organization has done just shy of 9,000 surgeries.

“We really appreciate they have set aside this money for spay/neuter. It’s a real win-win for Henderson County,” Cervini says. “It will allow us not to lose the momentum that we’ve built up in the last few years. We will do good by their money and spend it well.”

According to Cervini, Community Partnership and Henderson County have been working hard the last few years to reduce the number of stray cats and dogs. The county built a new animal shelter and placed animal control under the sheriff’s department.

Community Partnership has relied solely on private grants to provide its surgeries. Private funding, however, can’t be counted on as a long-term source to supplement the nonprofit’s $250,000 annual budget.

“Grants are not designed to fund community programs forever,” she says. “If it is a needed service, then the goal is the community or the county or the city or state will fund that nonprofit. The pressure remains on me to raise funds through grants and private donors. With the county setting aside $50,000, I hope I can encourage more of the grantors to stick with us a little longer.”

Last year, Community Partnership for Pets provided 2,300 low-cost surgeries and is on track to do 2,600 his year. The nonprofit partners with five Henderson County vets: Drs. Kevin McKisson, Jonathan Pernell, Beverly Hargus, Thomas Dillman and Ann Fratcher.

“It will take a community partnering together to solve the problem of pet overpopulation, and Henderson County is doing all the right things,” Cervini says.

Community Partnership for Pets, Cervini says, is out in the community 48 weekends out of the year, selling low-cost spay/neuter vouchers at Blue Ridge Mall, Tractor Supply, Petco and at large community events such as the Apple Festival.

For more information or to make a donation, visit or call 828-693-5172.

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