Now More Than Ever, Please Save Our Shelter

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Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Central Arizona

Humane Society staff members Shelly, Donna, Cristal, Lisa, Chandra, Sasha and Stephanie speak for the homeless animals of the Rim Country, who have no voice — Please Save Our Shelter.

This week’s article is going to be a bit different than usual.

Yes, we are asking that you help us save the animals. But there’s more to the plea this week. We are sending out an S.O.S. — Save Our Shelter.

At the Payson Town Council budget meeting held May 26, it was proposed that the council cut the amount the town pays us for our contracted services by $53,000. That is a 60-percent cut that could very well be the end for us. Even “The Little Shelter that Could,” in these tough economic times, cannot survive such a hit.

We are not just talking about animals here, we are also talking about jobs. There are several people on our staff who are the sole support for their families. This is eight young children whose parents will be unemployed. The salaries they earn here are meager, but from them they survive. There are two special needs people who are also employed here. Then count those of us who are just regular folks who work here — 13 people all together.

Then there are the animals, thousands which have found their way to our front door in the last 37 years. And the thousands who will be counting on us in the years to come.

In the budget meeting, it was implied by one of the council members that we make a profit on each animal that finds a home through us. That’s not true.

The contract money from the town only gets us through the first 72 hours of an animal’s stay at the shelter. Each animal that comes in requires vaccinations, food, housing, spaying and neutering. By the time the cost of these tasks is covered, there is no profit left for us.

We count on donations and our contracts to survive. The profit in the lost animal business is very low, no matter who makes it, and in this case it is the town. The impound fees that we collect for the animals from the town of Payson is returned to the town. Those are the animals that are reclaimed.

The many who are not reclaimed but are adoptable, we keep and find homes for them. Some would say we should kill these animals to save the money. But that’s just not who we are.

We are by no means a no-kill shelter, as many of the animals who get here are too badly damaged or unsocialized to be adopted. In those cases, we lovingly and humanely euthanize them.

But sadly, after all these years of hard work and dedication — and at such a monumental time in our future with the ground broken, ready to build a new facility to take us and the animals well into the future — we are now faced with the possibility of a devastating loss of revenue.

We’re counting on you to join the fight to Save Our Shelter. Call town hall at (928) 474-5242 and appeal to the council members and the mayor — please don’t cut the humane society’s contract.

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