Humane Society asks county for more money for next year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Most nonprofits find their appeals for funding work best when they let their clients do the talking.

So that’s just what the Natchez-Adams County Humane Society did when they appeared before county supervisors Monday to ask for $15,000 for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.

Humane Society officials Pat Cox and Linda Harper brought a video of the society’s Liberty Road shelter to the meeting to let supervisors see for themselves the aging, cramped facilities.

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The videotape showed peeling paint, rotted wood on the building’s exterior, and cages piled on top of cages to accommodate all the animals. The heating and air conditioning system is on its last leg, too, society volunteers said.

And it showed plenty of the shelter’s residents, from tiny kittens to playful pups, filling the shelter with a din of meows and barks.

&uot;They’re God’s creatures, too, just like us,&uot; Cox said. &uot;Only they don’t have a voice for themselves.&uot;

The number of cats and dogs brought to the shelter has increased over the years to more than 2,500 last year. The cost of food alone is more than $1,000 a month, volunteers said.

Without enough adoptions, and without the money to expand, they have to put to sleep 70 percent of the animals they receive due to lack of space, Harper said.

That presents another problem &045; most animal shelter grants are only available for no-kill shelters.

The shelter is facing some substantial bills in the near future, not the least of which is a $1,360 worker’s compensation payment.

Meanwhile, allocations from the United Way of the Miss-Lou for the Humane Society &045; itself strapped for cash in hard economic times &045; have fell from $9,750 to $4,000 last year.

&uot;Twenty-nine percent of our budget is allocated&uot; by the county, city and United Way, Cox said. The rest is made up of donations and proceeds from fund raisers.

&uot;You have certainly made your point,&uot; supervisors President Lynwood Easterling said after viewing the video.

&uot;The $15,000 is the minimum the shelter needs,&uot; Chuck Mayfield, who has volunteered with the society since the 1970s, told supervisors. &uot;Feel free to give more.&uot;

Supervisors took no action &045; county budget hearings don’t start in earnest until August &045; but Easterling said the board will take the request for funding under consideration.