MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Humane Society needs money, but the county commissioners said they have none to spare, at least not before next year’s budget.
Humane society board of directors President Randy White, Acting Director Tina Ballentine, board Chair Carol Jarvis and board member Martha Otto approached the commissioners with their request Tuesday afternoon.
The problem is cats. So many cats it swamps their facility and resources.
“We’re drowning in cats,” said Jarvis.
Ballentine said the society is not getting the financial support it needs to support the quantity of cats coming in: To house them, to feed them, to test them for diseases, and ultimately, to return them to their owners or find them new homes. And then there’s the cost of euthanasia for the cats they can’t find homes for or are diseased or they are so feral they cannot be tamed or adopted.
One problem is that people bringing in cats, either their own or strays, refuse to pay the surrender fee. The society still takes the animals, Ballentine said, because if they don’t “I’ll just come in the next morning and find them dropped at the door of the shelter.” Or, she added, people say they will just take them out and shoot them, rather than paying the fee.
The society representatives provided commissioners with an analysis of where their money has gone, especially the number of dogs and cats that have been through the facility.
Last year, the society took in 5,334 cats, of which 634 were adopted and 68 sent to rescue groups. Because they realized they could not sustain taking that volume of animals, the society quit accepting cats from outside the county. As a result, cat intake is down to 2,030 so far this year.
Dog numbers are similar to last year. A total of 262 dogs were pulled from the animal shelter in 2011, with 124 adopted and 134 sent to rescue organizations.
So far this year, 232 dogs have been pulled from the animal shelter, 136 adopted and 60 sent to rescue.
A total of 1,831 animals were spayed or neutered in 2011, including 299 dogs and 1,532 cats.
Totals so far in 2012 are 1,282 animals spayed or neutered, including 316 dogs and 966 cats.
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