Legislature approves bill to help fund animal shelter

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2013

With only six minutes left before state legislators wrapped up the current session on Monday, the bill that would generate additional funding for the Chilton County Humane Society passed the House of Representatives.

State Rep. Kurt Wallace said Tuesday morning Senate Bill 476 passed at 11:54 p.m. before the midnight deadline.

“It got done,” Wallace said. “That was the main thing.”

The bill will increase the data processing fee for electronic transactions for things like a marriage license, pistol permit or a deed by 25 cents.

Currently, the fee is $5 and paid to the Chilton County Tax Assessor, tax collector, probate judge or sheriff, but in August or September, the fee will be raised to $5.25.

The bill will have to be signed into law by Gov. Robert Bentley.

The Chilton County Commission introduced the idea to increase funds for the Chilton County Humane Society earlier this year to meet obligations in funding for animal care.

Commissioners estimated the data fee increase would generate roughly $23,000 more a year for animal control.

Chilton County Humane Society Director Scott Missildine said on Tuesday he was excited to hear the bill passed on Monday.

“I think it is awesome,” Missildine said. “I am very encouraged to hear the state legislators, including our local state representatives, understood the need and that we are here helping the community.”

Missildine said the money will help the shelter take better care of the animals as well as upgrading the shelter.

“Those are two things that are most important to us right now,” Missildine said. “The money will allow us to take better care of the animals with better vet treatments.”

There are more than 100 animals living at the shelter but the number fluctuates throughout the year, according to Missildine.

“Right now we are covered up with cats,” Missildine said. “This is the time of year where cats are having kittens like crazy so we are almost totally full with cats.”

Missildine said he appreciates the creative effort of the commissioners in coming up with a way to generate more funds for the humane society by introducing the data processing fee.

“Commission chairman Allen Caton was very instrumental in coming up with the idea to generate the funds and commissioner Bobby Agee has been a big help as well,” Missildine said. “I am just really excited to hear the bill passed. That is great.”

Caton said the extra funds will give more money to the commission to work with for animal control.

“This money will go into a fund and the commission will have control over that fund and we will dispense the money out to the humane society,” Caton said. “We are excited about this bill passing because this has been an ongoing battle to get funding for the humane society. We have tried several different ways and we are excited to be able to provide this money for them.”

Caton said there are few options to create funds that do not come by the vote of the people.

“The commission represents the people and we want the people’s input over everything,” Caton said. “We don’t want to pass everything and just push it on them. This is something we could pass and have it passed in Montgomery and not require the people to vote on it.”D