Come Monday, the Clinton Humane Society will no longer offer service to county officials, according to an agreement approved by the Board of Supervisors.
The humane society wrote to the board, saying the $5,000 annual subsidy they were budgeted to receive in the next fiscal year was not enough to make their expenses. They had proposed a $15,000 subsidy in order to make up for their rising steadily rising costs, costs which have not been acknowledged by years of level funding.
In their written budget request, they said they provided more than $19,000 of service to the county, but was only paid $11,000. Because of their deficit, they determined it was no longer feasible to work with the county, and said they would cut off service on April 11.
“I don’t wish to offend anyone at the county, because we would like to do business with them,” Humane Society Board Member Tammy Olsen said, “if they would pay us what it actually costs to take in an animal.”
The situation is similar to a conflict the society had with Clinton city officials over more funding in February. The city eventually agreed to the humane society’s proposal, because even though costs were more than doubled, they were still more affordable than building and staffing a city-run dog pound. State law requires that cities and municipalities have such facilities.
But cutting off service to the county means the sheriff’s department and other law enforcement agencies outside of the city will have to find other facilities to bring stray, feral, biting or hoarded animals.
County officials said the funding remained the same because of the county’s own tight budget situation. No other outside agency received an increase in its subsidy on the next fiscal year’s budget either.
The Humane Society will receive a prorated amount of its budgeted allocation for the rest of the fiscal year, totaling $3,884 instead of $5,000.
Others like Sheriff Rick Lincoln estimated they only transported a small number of animals to the society each year. But according to their letter, two instances of hoarding last year were more costly than what the society was allocated, and put the society’s staff and other animals at risk for illness or injury.
“We can no longer afford to subsidize what they can’t pay,” Olsen said. “We are a small, private non-profit ... We’re not making a nickel.”
Olsen added that the society will survive thanks to their dedicated staff of six full-time and four part-time employees and passionate community of volunteers and donors. Other residents who bring in non-dangerous stray animals will also see no change in service.