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Paws and Claws announces board of directors

Paws and Claws, a nonprofit organization that is gaining momentum to become a driving force supporting animal welfare in central Minnesota, announces this year’s board of directors, which includes three incumbents and four newly ratified members:

Betty Thomas, president, co-founder of Mann Lake Ltd., Hackensack.

Jack Thomas, vice president, co-founder of Mann Lake Ltd., Hackensack.

Theresa Ryan, chief financial officer, Pequot Lakes.

Steve Baker, attorney, Walker and Longville.

Jay Cline, vice president and branch manager, First National Bank of Walker, Jenkins office.

Jean Ballenthin, registered nurse, Ponto Lake Township.

Gary Dietrich, president of NorthWay Group, Hackensack.

“We are so excited to have this team of community leaders committed to helping Paws and Claws carry out its mission to save animal lives, educate youth and complete families,” said Betty Thomas. “Our first strategic goal is to work with the community to determine its capacity to build and support an animal shelter in Cass County, one of the few counties in the state that has such great need, yet is lacking any type of humane haven for lost and homeless pets.”

In addition, the organization has engaged a team of professional advisers to help build sustainable processes to ensure financial strength, community engagement, marketing, communications and fundraising.

“Betty and I have been in the for-profit business world for many years, and we quickly realized that in order to achieve the same success with Paws and Claws, we needed to surround ourselves with experienced non-profit advisors who could help us set a firm foundation that will sustain the organization far into the future,” said Jack Thomas.

As part of that process Paws and Claws has adopted a new logo and is building its branding and communications capacity so that donors, volunteers and other supporters will quickly realize its uniqueness.

Paws and Claws, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, was the vision of Jack and Betty Thomas, founders of Mann Lake Ltd. They realized the huge, unmet need and challenges faced by the community because of a lack of animal shelter in Cass County.

The current goal of the organization is to help lost, neglected, abused, abandoned and surrendered companion animals find a “forever home” by building a humane shelter and providing care so that they may be adopted.

Future program expansion will include pet therapy training for veterans and seniors, youth education, affordable spay/neuter services, veterinary care for low-income pet owners, and the development of an animal foster care network.

Initial projections are that Paws and Claws will serve more than 1,000 animals per year, create nine new jobs and provide meaningful volunteer opportunities for hundreds of local citizens.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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