Public hearing set to discuss shelter funding

Published 5:00 pm Friday, January 25, 2013

A public hearing for the Chilton County Commission to consider increasing funds for the Chilton County Humane Society is planned for Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. in the commission boardroom at the bottom floor of the courthouse.

Humane society director Scott Missildine said he hopes the hearing will generate creative ideas to come up with ways for the county to increase funds for the shelter.

“I think this will be a good opportunity to discuss everything,” Missildine said. “I know the commission is trying to work with us to come up with ideas so I think the hearing will be good.”

Currently, Missildine said the shelter needs $130,000 every year to operate and would like to have $30,000 from the county but receives $13,000 each month.

The city of Clanton gives $30,000 a year, Jemison gives $5,000 a year, Thorsby $3,000 a year and Maplesville pays $40 per animal.

The county provides money each month to cover 29 animals brought in from the county.

Commissioner Bobby Agee suggested at the Dec. 11, 2012 commission meeting contacting the legislative contingent to attend the Jan. 28 hearing to have all interested parties give their input.

Agee told commissioners during the Dec. 11 meeting that he had been working on ways to come up with a possible solution to help increase funding for the shelter.

Although Agee made it clear this was not a definite plan assuring commissioners they could explore different options, he suggested attaching money to the county water millage onto county customers through the Chilton Water Authority.

County attorney John Hollis Jackson said there were ways to raise funds through legislation and having the legislators attend the hearing would allow them to weigh in on possible solutions.

Missildine did acknowledge an increase of support from the community in recent months from people wanting to help with various fundraisers to help the shelter stay open.

“It has been really great seeing people in this community work to figure out ways to raise money for the shelter,” Missildine said. “Every little bit helps.”

Missildine said the only way workers at the humane society know where the animals come from is from asking those bringing them in where they picked the animal up.

“We just rely on people to be honest,” Missildine said. “It wouldn’t benefit them to lie that they picked it up from the county because they have to pay money. If they were going to lie it would benefit them to say they picked up the animal from the city.”

Missildine said charging has dropped off in recent months due to people not wanting to pay the money but Missildine fears the animals are still not being taken care of properly by many just leaving the animals on the side of the road.

“Just because they aren’t bringing the animals to the humane society as much doesn’t mean there aren’t as many strays,” Missildine said. “We seem to have gained a reputation (at the humane society) from charging people that we didn’t care about the animals and that is simply not true. We are just trying to figure out how to fund the animals we do have.”

Missildine said he hopes more people will become responsible pet owners pointing out that breeding has become a popular trend with a lot of people wanting puppies but not wanting to take care of the dogs once they are grown.

Agee said as a governing body, the commission is obligated to provide shelters for animals within the county.

Agee said he is expecting a large turnout at the commission meeting Monday night and encouraged people to come out and voice their opinion.

“I think the commissioners should hear what the public has to say,” Agee said. “Whatever the opinion is, it should be heard.”