The Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society staff was surprised Friday with a $250,000 grant from the Petco Foundation to help local pets in need.

The celebration was part of more than $10 million in grants the Petco Foundation committed to animal welfare organizations as part of its annual process to invest in the “most effective lifesaving animal welfare organizations nationwide,” according to Rachel Webb, marketing and events coordinator for the Petco Foundation.

Webb added the celebrations are part of the foundation’s “Love Changes Everything” campaign that invites pet lovers to celebrate those who work hard daily to save the lives of animals.

“At the Petco Foundation we invest in organizations across the country and as part of our Send Love to Shelter Pets and Valentine’s Day initiative we have selected a few shelters we are really proud of and who have staff that just deserve a world of thanks,” Webb said.

“We are super fortunate today to have a presentation from Petco Foundation that is awarding a grant for a five-year plan we submitted about a year ago,” said Lorri Hare, executive director of the Bowling Green Warren County Humane Society. “It is going to go toward many programs to help us save as many lives as possible. We are truly grateful. We worked really hard on that grant and it is a blessing.”

Hare said the grant goes to all the animals at the shelter but does have a focus with the Community Cat Program.

“Right now … cats are the most euthanized animals in shelters right now,” Hare said. “It will also go toward low-cost spaying and neutering. We will continue the $10 spay and neuter for cats for anybody and we will also continue with the $10 pit bull spay and neuter because cats and pit bulls, when you go into any shelter in the United States, are the animals in the most danger. We want to do everything we can to target those and prevent them from ending up in shelters.”

With the grant presentation being a surprise for the humane society, Hare had to keep the entire presentation a secret.

“I never knew I was so good at keeping a secret but I’ve known for about a month,” she said. “I knew that once they announced what it was that everybody would be so thrilled and have that same feeling I did. When I was on the conference call I cried and I was speechless. There’s no worse feeling than having to have a pet euthanized because of no room or lack of resources but there is no better feeling than saving a life and we know this grant is going to help save millions more.”

Hare also said the local support from different organizations and individual volunteers in Bowling Green and Warren County also allowed the humane society to continue.

“The biggest thing we want everyone to know is that we could not keep our doors open without our awesome community. We get that support 365 days of the year and we are extremely grateful,” she said.

Also as part of the Valentine’s Day celebration, the Petco Foundation provided a gift of ordering BOBS from Skechers shoes for all members of the humane society’s staff.

– Follow Daily News reporter Will Whaley on Twitter @Will_Whaley_ or visit bgdailynews.com.

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