In 2010, almost 10,000 animals were accepted into animal control facilities in Bay County. In the same year, almost 8,000 animals were euthanized at the animal control facilities in Bay County. The majority of these animals were healthy, adoptable animals. As a no-kill shelter, we provide a safety net – that can keep animals until a home is found.
Our number one priority is reducing the numbers of animals euthanized in Bay County. Simply wanting to do the right thing for animals is not enough. We are serious about excellent care for the animals in our shelter. We recognize the importance of building a stable organization, maintaining a competent, independent board, planning for organizational development and reliable fundraising practices that will support our work for years to come. We are intent on building good community relationships, becoming a credible, professional presence so that our advocacy for the animals is effective. We are intent on working with other animal protection organizations for the good of the animals. As has been said, animal protection is more like a marathon than a sprint, so we must prepare accordingly, focusing on the goal of saving as many lives as possible.
“No-kill” means that animals are not destroyed except in cases of terminal and painful illness or untreatable behavioral issues, when compassion demands euthanasia because there is no reasonable alternative. Once an animal is accepted, it will remain available for as long as is necessary to find a new home. We adhere to the standards put forth by the Asilomar Accords, which can be accessed at http://www.asilomaraccords.org.
When we accept an animal, we are making an ongoing commitment. We provide all the physical, emotional and medical care that that animal needs until a forever home is found – regardless of how long that takes. This comes with a cost. Treating one heartworm positive dog can cost over $500 – what would normally sustain three dogs for several months. We are solely dependent upon our donors to provide for these animals. Some people, who have adopted their max number of animals, sponsor animals, by providing a monthly donation for their care until they are adopted.
Ongoing, monthly donations are a major concern in returning to the Bay Drive facility. Monthly revenue requirements for maintaining the shelter at 70% capacity are approximately $25,000. At 100% capacity, they are over $30,000. These figures are based on 2008 levels of expenses, which are not static. It was a hard decision to close the shelter on Bay Drive, but making the hard choice came out of being fiercely committed to the animals to provide a more stable future for them. We will work systematically towards that 70% capacity number. We have to be sure that we can maintain the level of care they deserve.
In 2008, we received 200 cats and 357 dogs, and adopted 236 cats and 338 dogs. In 2009, we received 80 cats and 146 dogs; and adopted 92 cats and 140 dogs. At 100% occupancy at the Bay Drive Shelter, we can accommodate 165 animals, 62 dogs and 103 cats. Currently, at our new Animal & Adoption Center, we can have around 75 animals.
Together, the two agencies work cooperatively to try to save the life of every adoptable animal in Bay County. The Humane Society transfers animals from Animal Control at every opportunity. We’ve transferred seven times in 2010 alone. Both organizations are independent and continue to serve their own roles in the community and benefit many animals and people in Bay County.
One major difference between the two agencies is that the Bay County Animal Control is required by law to take in stray animals found in Bay County, in areas where they hold an animal control contract and they euthanize to make room for more animals. While the Humane Society of Bay County only takes in owner relinquished animals and animals transferred as rescues from overcrowded programs. Also, Bay County Animal Control regulates “dangerous dog” status and enforces licensing and leash laws. By having a central facility for strays, owners are able to quickly locate their lost pets because they only have to visit one facility.
A Humane Society is an organization that engages in on-site sheltering of animals. We believe by staying true to our role, we are more effective in our work – placing as many animals into permanent homes as we can.
The Humane Society of Bay County is an independent 501(c)(3) organization and is not affiliated with any other local, state or national organization such as the Humane Society of the United States in Washington or the ASPCA in New York. Because there are so many humane organizations with similar names, it is not uncommon for supporters of one humane society to mistake it with other humane societies and SPCAs. The Humane Society of Bay County is dependent solely on financial support from our community.