Humane Society Budget.
The Carthage City
Council Budget Ways and Means Committee last week
did not change its decision to appropriate
$15,000 less than was requested by the Carthage
Humane Society for the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget.
The Society requested $40,000 which is double the
amount approved for the current fiscal year.
During the previous Budget hearing, the committee
tentatively set the appropriation at $25,000.
Board President Kaylene Cole and Executive
Director Connie Shull were present at
Thursdays meeting to speak to the
committee, and provided documentation of the
services the Shelter provides in its contract
with the City as well as figures for annual
intake of animals.
According to the
paperwork, 770 animals were taken to the Shelter
by Carthages Animal Control Officer between
March of 2007 and March of 2008. The total intake
of adoptable pets for that period was 3,427.
Shull told the committee that with improvements
to record keeping, the Shelter is better able to
determine the cost of operation than previously.
Bill Fortune after reviewing the totals said he
was not comfortable with how the cost per animal
was figured. Fortune added that with the recent
resolution of legal issues between the shelter
and the Missouri Attorney Generals office,
he was hesitant to increase the amount beyond the
little reluctant to say, Okay, were
going to double our budget out there,"
discussed with the board members the
Shelters methods of handling a variety of
scenarios, including animals that are dead on
arrival, animals that need medical care, exotic
and wild animals. Board members also discussed
the charges applied for citizen drop-off of
animals, and drop-offs from other municipalities.
Shull said that
the shelter had recently increased its price for
accepting animals from other municipalities,
adding that this increase had caused at least one
county to take their business elsewhere.
Fortune asked what
costs are applied to citizens who take pets or
strays to the shelter. Shull said that the cost
is variable based on pet size, but ranges from
around $5 for kittens to $15 for large dogs. Cole
noted that some citizens who bring in strays
refuse to pay, as the animal does not belong to
why the City pays more than citizens for animals,
saying that it seemed unfair.
that the Shelter provides more services for the
City than for citizens, including care for
injured animals, transportation and followup
treatments as well as having a longer required
Claude Newport suggested that the budgeted amount
be left at $25,000 and that the committee
schedule a 6-month review with the Shelter to see
if additional funding is justified.
Cole added that
another option would be renegotiation of the
contract to allow for expense reduction by the
shelter. Cole said that modifying several of the
items in the contract, including Shelter
responsibility for medical bills, and the
acceptance of all types of animals, could help
alleviate some of the costs. Bill Welch, council
liaison to the Humane Society, said the
possibility of a trap/fix/release program for
feral cats could also help reduce costs at the
The committee was
favorable to these ideas, and agreed to look at
renegotiating the contract to allow for less
expenditures by the Shelter as well as including
a 6 month review period.
The committee made
several other cuts and modifications to the
budget, primarily capital improvement projects,
and also allotted $110,000 for the implementation
of the recommendations from the City salary
study, which is nearing finalization.