Posthumous donation prevents cuts at city’s shelter

By: Robert Guttersohn | Royal Oak Review | Published May 7, 2014

 A $100,000 donation to the Royal Oak Animal Shelter staved off a cut in the shelter's hours of operation.

A $100,000 donation to the Royal Oak Animal Shelter staved off a cut in the shelter's hours of operation.

File photo by Deb Jacques

Police Chief Corey O’Donohue said a six-figure donation to the Royal Oak Animal Shelter couldn’t have come at a better time.

During the May 5 City Commission meeting, the chief said that he and the Animal Shelter Committee had made plans last month to discuss cutting the hours of operation at the shelter. Fundraising, he said, had been low.

However, the meeting to discuss cutting hours never occurred, because the estate of Loismae Murray, a longtime Royal Oak resident who died at age 82 in 2012, announced that it had arranged to donate more than $100,000 — a large portion of the estate — to the shelter.

“This check will be put to good use,” O’Donohue said. “We’ll be able to maintain those hours.”

The donation of $106,448 was presented to the city at its May 5 meeting.

Murray’s longtime friend, neighbor and the overseer of her estate, Marlene Attridge, described Murray as an animal lover who took in stray cats.

“Cats just kind of came to her door and she adopted them,” Attridge said.

Murray, a widow, had no children, but Attridge said Murray treated her cats as her kids.

“The cats were definitely her children,” Attridge said.

Every Christmas, Murray prepared gifts for the pets of those who lived in the condominium complex.

Mayor Jim Ellison called the donation a “significant amount for an animal shelter that I know could use the money and put it to good use.”

Commissioner Peggy Goodwin said that the decision for Murray to donate to the shelter had much to do with the volunteers who run the shelter.

“I just want to recognize the volunteers, because they really touch people everyday, as well as the animals,” Goodwin said.

The money will be used for continual improvements at the shelter, according to the city.