When 20 pekingese dogs were willingly surrendered by their owner to the Borderland Humane Society two weeks ago, the organization’s president said it was a big wake-up call that a new holding facility is much needed.

“At that time, we had 10 cats in addition to those dogs,” Nikki Turenne said of the occupancy at the shelter located in the middle of the North Koochiching Area Sewer District construction zone. “It was an eye opener for us that we can’t handle that many animals.”

Each dog was in desperate need of a bath and Turenne said they were eventually transported to a holding facility in Duluth to be cleaned, groomed and put up for adoption.

“With a more functional building, we might have been able to handle them,” she explained.

A new holding facility is one of the many bullet points on a list that will benefit from the BHS fundraiser, A Cause for Paws – a celebration of 40 years of the Borderland Humane Society, scheduled for 4:30-8:30 p.m. April 13 at Lenards in the AmericInn.

“The support of the community is needed to make the event and the dreams of the BHS come true,” said Kallie Kantos-Fritz, president of the Cause for Paws committee.

The fundraiser is the largest for the organization and committee members are hopeful the fifth-annual event will outdo the last.

“The 2012 CFP raised $16,100...We are grateful to live in such a generous community and this year’s generosity will be plentiful as always,” Kantos-Fritz said.

In addition to help fund a new holding facility that is planned to be located on about two acres of tax-forfeited land adjacent to Menards, money raised from the April 13 event will help cover the costs to spay and neuter animals, and pay veterinary bills and other expenses.

“Many people are under the assumption that the Borderland Humane Society receives money from the Humane Society of the United States because our name is similar, but we do not,” Kantos-Fritz said. “The BHS is an entity all its own. BHS receives money through donations, grants and monies allocated to us from the city of International Falls, Koochiching County, adoption fees, the re-claiming of animals and through fundraisers – Cause for Paws being the main fundraiser.”

She added that the event will also recognize the 40-year anniversary of the BHS, which was established in 1973.

“A BHS representative will talk about the 40 years of the BHS and future plans,” she said. “A power-point presentation outlining the past 40 years of the BHS will be continually rolling throughout the event.”

She said that people who want to see their four-legged friends in the presentation can do so by purchasing a $25 ticket for Cause for Paws by April 5 and emailing the photo to bhsvolunteers@yahoo.com.

Tickets are available at City Drug, the Chocolate Moose and the Rainy River Veterinary Hospital. CFP committee members are also expected to be selling tickets March 29-30 at Stewart’s Super One. Kantos-Fritz said tickets will be available during the afternoon March 29 and in the morning and afternoon March 30. Tickets will include dinner.

Turenne said each dime that is raised by or donated to BHS is monitored and spent carefully.

“We are probably a little too thrifty,” she admitted.

She added that when people donate to the organization, they can specify how their money is used.

“If people want their money to go to the new holding facility, they can specify that and it will be placed in a separate bank account that will only be used for that new building.”

Turenne said details on a new holding facility are still vague as plans are not yet finalized.

“When we have a plan, we will have a better idea of the cost,” she said. “We’re hoping to share a layout of what the building will look like with the community at Cause for Paws, but we are not sure if it will be ready by then.”

In the meantime, Turenne is hopeful the fundraiser will be successful and reminds everyone “it is for the pets.”

“We appreciate everyone’s kindness,” she said. “I hope that Cause for Paws will turn out to be a good event.”