Squishy, Funny Face, Bacon, George, Daisy and even Spot could go down in history as the greatest pets ever.

The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin recently launched a new fundraiser called the 500 Unforgettable Pets Initiative. It asks people to pledge $500 over five years either in monthly payments of $8.33 or annual payments of $100.

In exchange, the name of an unforgettable pet will be inscribed at the humane society’s new 23,500-square-foot building on County G between Janesville and Beloit.

The initiative is the latest fundraising effort designed to get the project off the ground.

The land and facility are expected to cost $4.8 million. The society has about $2.17 million left to raise, said Mike McManus, humane society executive director.

McManus is working on several grants and is having conversations with individual donors.

The society recently sponsored a 100 Extraordinary Women challenge, which asked 100 women to donate $1,000 over five years. The challenge succeeded: 115 women signed up—15 more than anticipated—and the society was able to collect $115,000 in pledges.

The society also has received several in-kind construction donations. The latest of these was a donation from Al McKnight of McKnight Excavating, who has offered to donate all the excavating work on the new site.

The existing shelter, built in 1976 at 222 S. Arch St., no longer meets the needs of the more than 4,000 animals that come through the building each year.

Along with less-than-ideal housing for animals, it has an ailing heating, cooling and ventilation system and needs electrical work and a new phone system. The humane society board considered renovating the building but discovered that even basic repairs would cost significantly more than $1 million.

McManus is grateful for all the donations, large and small.

“It all adds up,” he said.

If things go as planned, the society could break ground on a new facility in late summer 2020.

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