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SPCA seeks extra county funds
To advance its no-kill efforts
Click to Enlarge
Leslie Hervey

Sunday, April 14, 2013

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Martinsville-Henry County SPCA is requesting that $15,000 remaining in Henry County’s current budget be spent to help make Henry County a no-kill locality, according to Leslie Hervey, executive director of the SPCA.

The funds are needed to provide vaccines, spay/neuter and other care for animals received from the Henry County Animal Shelter as part of the SPCA’s campaign to lower the area’s euthanasia rate to 10 percent or less by 2015, Hervey said.

However, the supervisors recently discussed using those funds to remedy unsafe county structures to help promote economic development, address safety concerns and remove neighborhood blight.

“You want the county and the supervisors to believe in what you are doing, and I don’t feel any connection (on their part) in this at all,” Hervey said, wondering if the county administration and/or the supervisors “believe this is important for our community.”

If the no-kill campaign was considered important, Hervey said the county “would have planned for it so that we wouldn’t be calling to the public to ask them to go with us” to the public hearing on the budget Monday. “Every year, we have to go back and beg.”

The SPCA and the city of Martinsville already are considered no-kill because animals that are considered unadoptable are taken to the county and euthanized, Hervey said in January when she announced the “Pound Project” campaign to decrease the county’s kill rates.

At the time, euthanasia rates were 18 percent, but they must be 10 percent or less to be considered for the no-kill designation awarded by a national no-kill organization.

At the time, Hervey said the SPCA would receive no additional funding for the designation, she said. Rather, it “is sort of a mark of pride,” she added.

The county’s fiscal 2014 budget proposes level funding of $7,267 for the SPCA. It has no funds for the Pound Project.

Henry County Sheriff’s Lt. Ben Rea said he understands the $15,000 is being requested because all animals at the county shelter now are being taken by the SPCA in its effort to lower the kill rate.

Rea said before the SPCA launched the no-kill campaign, cats generally were not taken to the SPCA and neither were dogs that appeared beyond rehabilitation. Also, some dogs could not be taken to the SPCA because of space limitations.

But with the Pound Project, Hervey asked for all animals taken in the county shelter, including cats and all dogs, Rea said. The dogs are evaluated at the SPCA in an effort to rehabilitate them, she said.

In the no-kill quest, “we are evaluating every single animal,” Hervey said. “We are not keeping biting or sick, cancer-ridden animals, but we want to make sure everyone gets a fights chance” to live.

The SPCA also pays for vaccines, altering and other care issues for those animals before sending them to rescue organizations or finding new homes, according to Rea.

He added that adoption fees help cover those costs.

Hervey said more funding is needed.

“We have gone year after year after year ... and asked” the county “to help us,” she said, and noted that last year, the SPCA received an additional $9,000 from the county.

Using those funds, and adding more from the SPCA’s current $750,000 annual budget, Hervey said an additional 385 shelter animals were saved “in addition to the 716 animals we received directly from Henry County residents.”

Localities are required by state law to provide vaccines and spay/neuter to shelter animals, she said.

“If we threw up our hands and said, ‘You know what, we are not doing Henry County’s mandated work,’ there would be 716 more animals that died” last year, Hervey said.

Supervisors Chairman Jim Adams said Saturday that the board has made no commitments from the $15,000 contingency fund. It is possible that it could be needed for something that arises in the 2 1/2 months left in this fiscal year, he added.

The county budget reflects diverse concerns, he said, and what is important to some people might not be to others. He added that Monday’s hearing will be held to gain input on the fiscal 2014 budget, not the current year’s budget.

Adams said he as of Friday, he had received one phone call and three or four emails on the SPCA funding. He also noted that the SPCA asked for “quite a bit more” from the county but received level funding.

The county budget hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Henry County Administration Building.


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