Kearney Area Animal Shelter

Macie Wicht visits Stewie at the Kearney Area Animal Shelter’s grand reopening on May 7. Raising Cane’s recently donated more than $1,300 to the shelter through sales of plush puppy toys.

KEARNEY — Stuffed animal sales at a Kearney restaurant benefited real, live animals at the Kearney Area Animal Shelter.

Raising Cane’s announced Tuesday that it donated more than $1,300 to the animal shelter. Funds were raised through sales of plush puppies, small stuffed yellow Labradors, during the holiday season.

The 2019 fundraiser garnered more than double the amount of money raised in 2018, according to Raising Cane’s representative Dee Collins.

In 2018, she said, Raising Cane’s in Kearney donated about $600.

The Kearney store sold 374 plush puppy toys during the holiday season, which ran Nov. 18-Jan. 6 at Raising Cane’s. But, Collins said, the Kearney restaurant ran out of the stuffed animals before the season ended.

“We sold as many as we could,” she said.

Collins added that 100 percent of the net proceeds from the $8.99 retail cost for the animals was donated to the Kearney Area Animal Shelter.

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KAAS Executive Director Olivia Derr said the donation was “incredible.”

“We are run on donations from the public, and we love having the community support and we would not be able to function without the support of the community,” she said. “So this has been an awesome partnership.”

Derr said the money would go toward care of cats and dogs at the no-kill shelter. Items they may purchase will be dog and cat food, cat litter and staffing costs. She said it takes about $40,000 per month to operate the animal shelter, which shelter relies on donations and volunteerism. In addition to monetary donations, Derr said many people donate their time playing with the cats and walking dogs.

Derr said the animal shelter provides a good life for the Buffalo County strays while they’re waiting for a forever home.

“They look kind of sad when you walk in, but ... while they’re waiting, they have a good life for sure,” she said.