Community News

Fort Defiance Humane Society making cutbacks

Crescent-News June 1, 2017

 

Facing a financial crunch, the Fort Defiance Humane Society has implemented some cutbacks.

According to humane society board president Shane Wilson, the after-hours animal drop off location has been closed and one full-time salaried employee was laid off Tuesday. Only the county dog warden will be able to drop off dogs after hours, he explained.

Monday office hours also will be terminated and the Justin F. Coressel Animal Shelter on Ohio 15 — owned by the county commissioners and operated by the humane society — will no longer take cats.

County commissioners provide the humane society with $25,000 annually to house dogs taken in by the county dog warden. The figure represents less than 20 percent of the humane society’s budget while the rest is generated through donations and fundraisers, according to Wilson.

Commissioners also provide the animal shelter for the humane society’s use. Commissioner Ryan Mack noted that the county has funded a new HVAC system this year and paved the parking lot.

While Wilson said the humane society appreciates the commissioners’ contributions, he explained that the agency will need more funds to stay afloat. He is appealing to the community for additional donations.

“I can’t thank county commissioners enough,” he said. “At the same time we’re running out of money very fast.”

A letter from Wilson approved by the humane society board which was intended to be published in The Crescent-News as a letter to the editor stated that “as a humane society it saddens us all to resort to these extremely drastic measures in an attempt to keep us operating for the remainder of the year. If we are not successful in securing additional funding, this may be the last year for the Fort Defiance Humane Society, in spite of being in existence for over 50 years.”

The letter also thanked county commissioners for their help and those who’ve donated their money and time as volunteers to run the animal shelter.

“We rely on you, the public, to maintain this humane society,” the letter stated. “Due to our staff reduction, volunteers are desperately needed daily to help walk dogs, clean cages and perform any other tasks at the shelter.

“Please remember that we are a non-profit organization,” Wilson’s letter added. “The majority of our funding comes from adoption fees, donations, grants, in addition to the membership fees. If you are not a current member of the humane society, we would appreciate your joining. This renewable, annual support would help us maintain ‘your’ humane society.”

Mack said commissioners have heard rumors about the humane society’s cutback plans and want to meet with members soon to address the matter.

He noted that commissioners made an offer about two years ago to the humane society that if it received funding from the county’s municipalities to take in cats they would match the donation up to $5,000.

To date nothing has happened, he added.

Asked to address the outreach to the county’s municipalities, Wilson said the humane society is putting together presentations.

“We’re going to go to the municipalities very shortly,” he said.

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