Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

December 26, 2013

County to consider more funds for animals

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

CHEROKEE COUNTY — The Cherokee County Commissioners Court is considering providing greater funding to defray the Klein Animal Center's costs for caring for surrendered dogs in unincorporated areas of the county.

In an emailed announcement to her constituents, Precinct 3 Cherokee County Commissioner Katherine W. Pinotti said the issue was discussed at length at the last December meeting but then tabled until January.

"We had a lively discussion and Jennifer Lee (president) provided some really good information that gave us a more realistic picture of the financial needs of the shelter," she said. "I was very pleased that the court was receptive and plans to take action."

According to its website, the Cherokee County-centric Klein Animal Center has helped and “re-homed” more than 6,000 homeless animals since 2005. It has spayed or neutered almost 3,000 of them, according to the site.

During a January meeting, the court will consider paying approximately $45 per animal on a monthly basis to the shelter, instead of a lump-sum annual payment, she said.

"And if that happens, county residents can surrender animals free of charge like they do in the city limits," she said. "Call your commissioners and county judge and ask them to support this plan, if you like the idea, or perhaps provide another alternative solution in which we could consider. Animal control is an issue we all know is important."

It has been noted more than once that the amount of dogs — animals in general really — in need of care can be linked to the decline of the economy — at least in part.

Fleeting jobs and income can lead to harsh decisions, such as getting rid of pets by getting rid of them in shelters and not paying fees, experts say.

Because animals have become so domesticated, survival skills have nearly disappeared as animals’ reliance on people for necessities has increased. When an animal is left in an unfamiliar place with no means of staying sustaining them selves, the animals tend to join forces with other animals — especially in rural areas.

Many aren’t spayed or neutered, which adds to the problem, officials said.