The Mimi Paige Foundation was established in 2001 as a not-for-profit organization under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code by concerned residents of Western North Carolina. We are indeed a small volunteer organization with a big mission and a large heart. Our mission quite simply is to drastically reduce the number of unwanted dogs and cats in Western North Carolina.
When we began, more than 10,000 animals were being euthanized a year in Buncombe County alone. This number was tragic and devastating. It represented more than 60 tons of animal remains in our landfill. We know this useless killing drove Mimi Paige to make a difference through education. Mimi had great hope that with education people could change. We knew our mission. We wanted to make a difference, not only for Mimi but for Mimi’s first love, animals. Our goals at first were not modest and neither was our passion or energy.
Working with WLOS, we have produced and aired over 55 commercials with messages of responsible pet ownership. WLOS has been an extraordinary partner to us and we will always be grateful.
In 2002, we began working with animal rescue groups and Buncombe County leaders to effect an everlasting change in our animal control ordinance. In December of 2003, Buncombe County commissioners passed the very first in the state Spay/Neuter ordinance. The law went into effect in April 2004. To view the complete ordinance log on to buncombecounty.org.
In 2003, we inundated the airways with commercials to spay or neuter pets, we informed our audience of the health benefits, both physically and behaviorally. We also aired commercials that in Buncombe County it was indeed the law. The Humane Alliance reported tremendous increase in their needs for services when we aired our commercials.
Consequently, we immediately started to see a drastic reduction in unwanted animals.
We have had great community partners. In 2004 we were the sponsor for the pilot program, “New Leash on Life.” We taught inmates at the Black Mountain Correctional Center for one year. The success of the program convinced the North Carolina Department of Corrections to make it a statewide program.
In 2004 we also spent the year creating a Pet Therapy program for the Black Mountain Center. Black Mountain Center is a state run facility for folks with Alzheimer’s and Severe Developmental Disabilities. Staff and residents were thrilled with four legged visitors.
In 2009 we discovered there was still a need for the public to have additional financial assistance to spay or neuter their pets. We worked with Buncombe County Animal Services and the Humane Alliance to develop a program for those folks that were trying to comply with the law but did not have the means to do it.
We realized that for some folks devastated by the economy, reduced cost was not enough so we made a one time contribution of $20,000 to the Humane Alliance for free services for Buncombe County dogs.
In 2011, we purchased bullet proof vests for all the four legged deputies at the Buncombe County Sheriff’s department. It is our belief that these incredible dogs and handlers are amazing examples of the animal /human bond we want to preserve and nurture.
We are not an animal rescue group but we are proud to say that we have rehabilitated and found homes for hundreds of pets that would otherwise be euthanized.
We have had many projects and partnerships throughout the community. If you have any proposals or would like to partner with the foundation, please contact us. Any idea, big or small, that celebrates the animal/human bond we would love to hear about.
At this point it would be easy to pat ourselves on the back. However, in 2011 thousands of animals still had to be euthanized. We have more work to do. We need your help. We need your time, energy and yes resources. The Mimi Paige Foundation has administration costs of less than one percent. Your donations go directly to saving lives. Mimi Paige knew people can change and we have seen that. Help us make Western North Carolina not only great for people, but for their pets too.