Animal Writes
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From 5 June 2005 Issue

Fur Donation A Humane Gesture
By Kathy Van Mullekom - Daily Press

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Do you have a fur coat or other fur garment collecting dust in your closet or attic? You can give the fur back to the animals when you donate these items to be used to help comfort orphaned and injured wildlife?

The Humane Society of the United States collects furs to send to wildlife rehabilitators, who use them as bedding and nesting material for the animals in their care. Donations are tax-deductible.

Wildlife rehabilitators use fur garments as a key first-aid component of care for the animals that are injured or abandoned. Pieces of fur from coats, apparel and accessories are cut into an appropriate size for the animal, whether a rabbit, raccoon, squirrel or opossum, and placed inside the animal’s enclosure. The furry blanket becomes a “surrogate mother” to the orphaned or injured animal, reducing stress and giving comfort.

The humane society accepts all fur and fur-trimmed apparel, including shearling. Fur accessories including hats, gloves, scarves and muffs are also accepted.

Last year, the society received 800 furs with a combined value of more than $100,000.

It’s easy to donate your fur. Package it in a sturdy box or padded envelope for small items and mail it to Fur-Free Century, The HSUS, 2100 L St., NW, Washington, DC 20037. The humane society sends a letter thanking you for your donation, which should also be kept for your tax records.

If you plan to itemize tax deductions, you can claim the fair market value — the amount you could sell the fur for today — for your donation, according to the humane society. Furs valued at $5,000 or more must have a “qualified appraisal,” according to the IRS. You must have this appraisal done before sending your donation. Consult your tax attorney for further advice.

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