Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

January 16, 2014

Requested animal shelter county funds to offset fees, executive director says

Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — Angela Wallace, the executive director of Klein Animal Shelter, explained earlier this week how the funds requested from the Cherokee County Commissioners' Court on Monday are planned to be used.

The county would be assessed rates that had been charged of their residents: Surrender of a single animal would run $30, the fee for a litter of up to six animals would be $60, while more than six animals surrendered would be $75.

Until now, under that system – with the county contributing one-third of the surrender fees – “we've been eating that discount for a number of years,” Wallace said. “The shelter has been paying about 46 percent of current costs of every animal that comes in.”

“That would take the burden off county citizens – anybody from within Cherokee County could bring animals in, free of charge, they would just have to prove residency,” she said.

Had the county agreed to approve the $22,000 increase – in addition to $15,000 in annual funds they provided during past years and agreed to pay this year at Monday's meeting – the shelter would be able to reinstate a spay-neuter program it suspended seven or eight years ago because of budget constraints, Wallace said.

By offering these low-cost surgeries, overpopulation would be curtailed, thus reducing strain on the shelter physically and financially.

Instead, “now we will have to pass (the cost) back to the citizens, who will pay $30 per animal surrendered – it'll cost them $180 to bring in a litter of six,” she said. “And that's the thing we fight with every day: People who pick up stray animals have to pay the surrender fee. And many county residents can't afford to do that.”