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Board to mull SPCA funding
Monday, June 4, 2012
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Henry County Board of Supervisors’ discussion of additional funding for the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA will take place during its June 26 meeting.
“We told them (SPCA) to come back” in June to discuss funding for fiscal 2013, said board Vice Chairman Tommy Slaughter.
The SPCA had asked for $75,000 in additional funds in fiscal 2013 to help pay for its partnership with the Henry County Sheriff’s Office to have an SPCA worker at the county pound to facilitate adoptions there. The funding request was less than half of the initiative’s annual cost of $156,250, according to Leslie Hervey, executive director of the SPCA.
Under the initiative, the SPCA paid a part-time employee to go to the county pound, keep it open extended hours, compile information for rescue groups and perform other duties to help adopt dogs rather than euthanize them.
The county gave the SPCA a total of $17,267 in the current fiscal year that will end June 30, including $10,000 to help offset the costs of the part-time employee’s salary.
Supervisors delayed action on the agency’s funding request for 2013 until their June meeting.
A day later, an expanded executive committee of the SPCA’s board of directors voted to pull the plug on the project and took the part-time employee out of the pound.
That was upsetting to Slaughter, he said.
There was enough money to continue the initiative through the June 30 end of fiscal 2012, but, “they just pulled (the employee) out of the pound. That’s the thing that upset me,” he said.
Within a month, the sheriff’s office hired the part-time employee, and the county shifted the $10,000 earmarked for the initiative to the sheriff’s office to help pay that person’s salary.
“Now, we’ve kind of got the monkey on our backs (to fund the program),” Slaughter said. “I guess any money we’ve got will have to be used to assist with that.”
“(The supervisors told the SPCA) to come back in June, and I guess we probably will wait on them to make an appeal (before reaching a final decision),” Slaughter said. “I don’t know what their feelings are. I haven’t talked to any of them since they did what (they) did ... in terms of pulling the (employee out of the pound).”
Hervey said the SPCA pulled the employee from the pound because it could not afford to continue the initiative any longer.
Additional funds still are needed because the SPCA rescues many animals from the county pound, she said, estimating that $250 is spent on average for every “well, healthy animal” taken into the SPCA.
By the time an animal is spayed or neutered, Hervey said, a total of $137.62 has been spent on it. If the animal is kept for two weeks, that increases to $366.25.
“These are actual product costs without overhead of any kind,” she said, such as the employee who orders, inventories and stores products for use, marketing efforts or temperament testing.
“And this is at cost,” Hervey said. “This is what it actually costs the SPCA. If you did the same things at a vet’s office, (the average cost) would be a completely different figure.”
The average cost includes one-time and recurring fees, Hervey said, and explained that when a new animal comes to the SPCA, a $75 one-time fee is spent to spay/neuter/transport the animal, administer a rabies vaccine and implant a microchip.
A total of $19.10 is spent on various drugs required for animals entering the SPCA, including vaccines/medicines to prevent distemper, parvo and other illnesses; kennel cough; and two de-wormers, Hervey said. A total of $5.22 for the one additional dose of each de-wormer is required by the second week, she said.
Also, it costs $15 per day for routine daily care, such as feeding, bathing, cleaning the kennel, administering medications and other daily tasks; $10 every two weeks for a vet check; and a one-time $5 fee for a health certificate, Hervey said.
Monthly flea/tick treatments are $11, with $8 a month spent on fecal and other tests required for the health certificate; $6 per week on bathing/ear care; $3.72 for a one-time heartworm test; an average of $2.80 per month for a pill to prevent heartworms; and $1 per week to trim nails, she said.
“(The) true cost depends largely on the length of time an animal remains at the shelter and the type of procedures (it needs),” Hervey said. She estimated at least one-fourth of the animals admitted need additional medical care.
Adoption fees of $65 for a kitten, $35 for a cat, $160 for a puppy and $80 for a dog do not offset the costs of admitting a healthy animal, Hervey said, and she hopes supervisors will give the agency additional funds.
“I think what we will do is look not only at one request, but also look to see what else we need to fund,” board Chairman Jim Adams said.
Although there are no additional funding requests that Adams is aware of, he said: “The fuel expense is probably the biggest issue facing us right now. I don’t know that we can commit to any other expense until we look at what our fuel and other expenses have been.”