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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Humane Society still hopeful for future

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If there is indeed a future for the Humane Society of Putnam County, the present has become extremely important.

That's the belief of Humane Society President Kraig Kinney and other board members in the face of the recent closing of the animal shelter.

The key, he said, is starting and sustaining a funding stream, which he realistically envisions as a combination of community fund drives and dedicated financial support of some kind from the county.

"Optimistically," Kinney said, "if we are to have any chance of reopening, it needs to be within the next six to nine months or it is going to be very difficult to do so."

He admitted board members have had very preliminary conversations with at least one county commissioner about the prospect of a collaborative effort between city, county and Humane Society to operate the shelter. Such a proposal would have to be formalized and presented to county and city governments for approval, of course.

"Sustainability is the key word," Kinney said.

The organization does not want to see a would-be savior come forward to get the shelter reopened and then face the same situation again a few months down the road. A long-term solution is what is being sought during the down time until an anticipated reopening sometime after the first of the year.

Three factors are crucial to making that occur, Kinney said.

First, is securing enough funds -- through community donations, etc. -- to pay down the existing HSPC debt of $29,000.

Secondly, he said, is a goal of doubling the Humane Society's existing reserve endowment, administered by the Putnam County Community Foundation, from its present $335,000 $700,000 or more. That would provide a greater draw from the endowment for annual operations costs.

And finally, securing county funds via licensing or other means along with retaining the contractual municipal support already in place with Greencastle, Cloverdale, Bainbridge and Fillmore who pay for the services of the shelter.

This year, interest from the HSPC endowment provided $14,000 to use as general operating funds. Looking at that overall $335,000 figure, residents and even HSPC board members have wondered why the organization doesn't just apply those funds to its current needs and reopen the facility.

Using just the interest off the endowment, Kinney said, provides "steady income" that can be counted on annually as an amount that "doesn't change with the whims" of the public or the governing body.

Once the endowment principal would be spent, future financial flexibility would be gone, Kinney reasoned in opposing such an idea.

Kinney said the public has been asking many questions about the HSPC funding and whether or not the organization is still accepting donations while it is closed. The answer, of course, is yes.

Donations can be sent to the Humane Society at P.O. Box 444, Greencastle, IN 46135 or to the endowment through the Putnam County Community Foundation, P.O. Box 514, Greencastle, IN 46135.

"Donations clearly help," Kinney said. "We're not just paying down the old debt, we're looking to the future."

And if the shelter is going to reopen, the Humane Society is going to need strong, continued support from the public.

Consequently, Kinney suggested, "this may not be a bad time to broach the subject of licensing."

Several counties use the licensing approach to fund animal shelters, with licensing fees ranging from $5 per animal per year to $20 per year. Putnam County, he suggested, would probably fall somewhere in between.

"One of the benefits," Kinney said, "is you know you are helping animal control."

Fees also can be tiered by how a pet owner protects his animals via spay and neutering efforts.

He said the typical $5 fee sees $1 go to Purdue University for Extension Service funding and 75 cents to the licensing agency to cover administrative fees. That leaves $3.25 of the $5 licensing fee per animal for the county to earmark for animal control and quarantine.

In the meantime, while officials work out such details, day-to-day issues involving stray and unwanted dogs and cats have no real local answers. The only apparent solution available is to transport such animals to out-of-county facilities that will take them.


Comments
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I believe pet owners are already taxed on their pets. Where does that money go? A good marksman could solve the problems of strays relatively cheaply. What does Purdue University Extension Services do for strays and unwanted animals?

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 7:01 AM

I have been looking at other Humane Societies throughout Indiana that appear successful and wonder what the biggest issue is between theirs and ours. Without being there I can't point any fingers or make any accusations but only wonder. Is it in the advertising of the animals, is it fundraising, maybe in the management of funds, I have no idea but I do know this is something that our county needs.

-- Posted by opiniononly on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 10:00 AM

Although I agree that Putnam County & all surrounding municipalities need to step up & support HSPCA, the key is for PET OWNERS TO SPAY/NEUTER THEIR PETS!!! There is NO excuse for an un-altered dog or cat. The county should institute kennel fees- there are hundreds of unwanted animals. Kennel fees should be assessed- especially for back-yard breeders. Pet owners that throw 2 "nice" pets together just to make money, without any regard for genetics need to be shut down. Fines should be assessed for dogs caught running at large, & the owners should be compelled to have their animal altered.

While I have no problem paying a fee, it would be difficult to enforce. If a pet owner won't pay to have their animals altered &/or allow them to run loose, they certainly won't pay for a license.

The economy is in dire straits, it's time for backyard breeders to stop contributing to the thousands of unwanted dogs & cats. The SPOT clinic in Cloverdale is a low cost spay neuter clinic. If your pet is intact, please take it to be fixed.

-- Posted by Essie on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 1:43 PM

@ opiniononly... The board is the problem. They ask for volunteers but then turn them away unless the person is in their click.

-- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 2:28 PM

I agree that we should control the pet population. But I feel stronger about our homeless shelter shutting down. When did animals became priority over human beings. All you hear about in the Greencastle area and on the Indianapolis TV news channels is the Putnam Co. Humane Shelter shutting down. When the Away Homeless Shelter anounced that they where shutting down, all you knew about it was an write up in the Banner-Graphic. I would be willing to help donate and raise money for the homeless shelter but not to an animal shelter. The quality of a human being should always be more inportant then animals. Human vs Humane?

-- Posted by chicken on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 3:06 PM

Chicken,

It isn't a zero sum game. There are people concerned and working towards solutions to both problems. We are capable of developing solutions to both issues. Go, give money and time and energy to the Away Home Shelter. It is important to you and appropriate to do so, but that doesn't mean that we ought not address the animal shelter as well. Good Luck!!

-- Posted by David Worthington on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 4:25 PM

there is no way that the humane society can touch the principal of the funds endowed in their name at the foundation. The by-laws prohibit of the foundation is safe. such an act and if they do take the money, a law suit will be immediately filed. If they can touch the principal of the funds with the foundation, then no endowed fund is safe. A major contribution to the humane society's problem is poor management by the past boards and past directors. It was once and efficiently run organization

-- Posted by albert on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 5:55 PM

The reason for the shelters financial situation is that funding is down and the number of animals abandoned is up. You can't manage your way out of that and you can't place blame on board members or directors either. Shelters everywhere are overfilled and underfunded right now and many are in danger of closing and the only way to correct that is for government bodies and citizens to step up and fund the shelter that is providing the services that the whole county benefits from. If you have a pet you know that it cost far more to care for, rehabilitate, and adopt out a pet than they can charge the potential adopter. You can't lose money on each pet and make it up by volume and you can't charge what it cost because it would be prohibitive for a large segment of potential adopters. There is no other answer and there is no out of county facility waiting to accept unwanted animals either. If you think otherwise try calling them. The loss of the shelter is tragic but hopefully they are successful in opening it and keeping it open in the future.

-- Posted by metropolitan new maysville on Thu, Sep 29, 2011, at 11:04 PM


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