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Humane society asks for more money

Chilton County Humane Society Director Joe Murphy requested a funding increase from the county commission Monday night.

The commission had allocated $7,500 to the humane society for fiscal year 2009-2010 — about half the amount given in recent years. Murphy asked commissioners to consider increasing the amount to $15,000.

“I think the problem is our county is growing but our humane society is not growing along with it,” Murphy said.

According to Murphy, the humane society takes in between 5,000 and 6,000 animals per year, approximately 80 percent of which come from unincorporated Chilton County. On average, a single animal costs $22.64; therefore county funding covers the expense of only 331 animals.

Each municipality already funds the humane society. The town of Maplesville recently entered into an agreement to pay $25 per animal confined.

If the county cannot increase its share of funding, Murphy said, the humane society may begin charging an intake fee for residents of unincorporated areas — something Murphy does not want to do.

“We are the county’s impound facility. There really should be a contract between the county and the humane society,” Murphy said.

Commission chairman Tim Mims said the humane society had failed to provide certain information — including a certified audit — as requested by the commission. However, all but one member of the society’s board of directors have been replaced since that request was made.

“I’m a one-hundred-percent believer in transparency,” Murphy told commissioners, inviting each to visit the shelter unannounced.

Board president Colleen Kennedy and board member Naomi Absher, who were also in attendance, echoed the invitation. Each said there have been vast improvements in the past eight months, reducing overcrowding and disease.

“We don’t have dogs die [from disease] there anymore, which used to be a daily occurrence,” Murphy said.

After further discussion, the commission agreed to meet with Murphy again in March.

In other business, the commission extended a contract with Boatright Enterprises, a railroad maintenance company, through March 31. The company is interested in opening a plant at the Chilton County Industrial Plant in Lomax but is currently working through a permit process with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and other groundwork.

The commission voted 6-0-1 to extend the contract. Commissioner Joe Headley abstained.