County dollars pay for county animals

Published 9:43 am Wednesday, June 19, 2013

To the editor:

I attended the BOC meeting on June 10 and heard folks worrying that Polk County was paying for pets brought to the shelter from out of the county. That is not the case at all.  Our taxpayer dollars go for Polk County animals only.

All animals brought in to the shelter must be held there for three days unless they are returned to their owner. Polk County is supposed to pay the expenses for those three days for animals brought in from Polk County.  Polk County pays nothing for the extra services given to the animals after that time – and the shelter puts a great deal of extra energy, time and money into each animal to ensure its adoption.

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In 2012, it cost FHS in $108 to intake each animal and keep it for the mandatory three day hold period. FHS took in 1,170 animals from Polk County in 2012. This means that the total cost to FHS to hold each Polk County animal for three days was $126,360, while Polk County paid only $97,200.  FHS is asking for an increase of $14,580, bringing Polk County’s total payment to $111,780, which seems more than fair to me.

Additionally, when I read FHS’s initial request to the Board of Commissioners, I learned that in 2012, FHS put $300,000 right back into the Polk County economy.  They paid more than $50,000 to Polk County veterinary clinics for medical care, and another $50,000 to other Polk County businesses for pet food, supplies, advertising, etc. FHS employed 12 full-time and part-time Polk County residents in 2012, which put an additional $200,000 into the local economy. This is a huge benefit to Polk County and should be taken into account.

It seems to me that the benefits provided to Polk County far outweigh the cost.  I call on the commissioners to vote for the $14,580 increase requested by Foothills Humane Society.

– Emmy Summers, Tryon