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Humane Society asks for more funding

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Humane Society is asking for more funding from the Clanton City Council.

Board member Kristi Hyche said the organization expects to present a similar request to the other municipalities as well as the county. Each already provides some funding to the nonprofit.

Mayor Billy Joe Driver suggested that all of the municipalities, the county and the Humane Society set up a meeting, in which the organization could bring more detailed financial information for discussion. A meeting is expected to be set up in the near future.

Right now, the Humane Society owes more than $18,000 and one company will not sell it anymore vaccinations until it pays the bill.

“We at the shelter can not survive without funding,” Hyche said.

The Humane Society presented a spreadsheet showing the cost for taking in the 2,405 animals it has since January was $88,189. It also showed euthanasia rates, animals rescued and adopted for each month. This year rescue groups have pulled 788 dogs and cats. Hyche said many of these got to the northeast or to Florida. There have been 326 animals adopted from the shelter.

When the shelter is completing intake, the dog or cat is vaccinated, spayed or neutered and given a heartworm test, if it is old enough. Hyche said this combined with labor costs comes to about $37 per animal.

Councilman Jeffery Price asked why the shelter vaccinated animals on intake.

Director Kimberly Ruck said this keeps the animals in the shelter healthier, thereby reducing the euthanasia rate. However, she said animals determined to be too sick or aggressive on in take will be euthanized and not vaccinated.

The shelter has four full-time and four part-time employees.

“The part-time employees were brought on to cut out overtime,” Ruck said.

She commented all employees make minimum wage.

“What we get in from the municipalities is not enough to even cover our payroll,” Ruck said.

Clanton gave the Human Society $45,000 this year, an increase over last year’s funding, according to Driver.

Ruck suggested if the shelter did not have to pay utilities it would help the funding situation.

“Our option is to run a shelter the way our community supports as a modern shelter and like how all the shelters in our area are run or euthanize on intake, which our community has never supported in the past and they won’t. So all this money that we have made from donations, it will stop,” Ruck said.

Price said the shelter could pick euthanasia rate that it would have each month and then build the budget from there. Ruck said there are costs even with euthanizing animals.

Efforts have been made to reduce intake numbers in the future by supporting a program to give current pet owners financial assistance to get their cat or dog spayed or neutered.

In addition to the financial struggles, the Humane Society has also seen a high turn over rate for its staff and board members.

Visit chiltoncountyhumanesociety.org/ for more information.