ROCKINGHAM — One local group is counting on the popularity of a character from the Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” to bring in big bucks to help control Richmond County’s unwanted pet population.
Richmond County Animal Advocates is auctioning off a handmade “Baby Yoda” to support its spay and neuter program.
Referred to in the series as simply “the Child,” the small, large-eared green creature resembling the Jedi master — who was first introduced in “The Empire Strikes Back” to teach Luke Skywalker the ways of the force — was immediately deemed “Baby Yoda” and has been featured in many memes since.
Laurie Moreno, owner of Sandy Crest Kennel, crafted the 7-inch crocheted doll.
“She has boarded animals for us in the past and I saw where she was selling them and figured it would be a great item to auction off for our fund,” said RCAA Director Allison Story.
Those interested can bid in the comments of the post pinned to the top of the RCAA Facebook page.
Since posting on Jan. 22, the highest bid had reached $60 — roughly what it costs the group for one surgery — as of 7 p.m. Monday. Bids close on Valentine’s Day.
“We pay those costs up front, folks schedule the surgeries at the appropriate clinics and continue,” Story said. We do ask that those not on assistance make a minimum donation of $25 per cat for their surgeries.”
That program, Operation Feline Fix, is through Longleaf Animal Hospital in Southern Pines and is for cats.
There is also a program for cats and dogs belonging to those on government assistance in cooperation with the Richmond County Animal Shelter.
The group’s programs are available to Richmond County residents only.
The spay-neuter programs — which are available to Richmond County residents only — have become the group’s primary focus, with the goal being “to reduce the influx of animals coming into the shelter,” Story said.
From January to August of 2019, the group paid for 425 surgeries, according to Story, and 450 the year before.
Next month, RCAA will be doing a “March Madness” at its spay-neuter clinic for cat surgeries for those not on assistance.
To help finance the programs, members also hold a dog wash at Tractor Supply — run by Hanna Marks — on the last Sunday of each month, with the next event scheduled for 2-4 p.m. Feb. 23.
“We will be collecting donations that day for cat litter and cat food,” Story said. “Tractor Supply lets us use the dog wash every month, so we are encouraging folks to pick up dry cat food, Tidy Cats litter and canned food from their store since it’s on sale, currently.”
Story said the dog washes have been the group’s largest monthly fundraiser.
The annual Spayghetti Dinner, which is still in the planning phase, is tentatively slated for April.
Anyone who would like further information on any RCAA program is encouraged to message the group’s Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.