Seeking funding: Humane society seeking expanded support from local governments

Chad Frey
Between Oct. 2019 To Sept. 2020, 196 cats came into the McPherson County Humane Society -- 54 percent from the city, 30 percent from the county, 11 percent from other locations and 6 percent had no records.

This year two members of the operational board are stepping down, in preparation for that, the organization hired an executive director. That kind of blew a hole in the budget.

“We are showing a 49,000 loss with the hiring of the director,” said Becka Locke, who handles the accounting for the organization.

She, and financial advisors, believe teh center needs to come with about $42,000 in funding — and they have a plan.

That plan is designed to do two things — increase funding from local governments, and to fix a issue the society sees in one of those funding streams.

Specifically, they say there needs to be a fix in the “Fix-A-Cat” program.

Fix a Cat started in 2009 with funding from the city.

“Those funds go towards spay and neuter surgeries for cats in the community — both individuals who come to the society to get a voucher to have a cat fixed and cats that come through the shelter. We also yues the funds for trapping programs,” said Mary Steffes, board member for the Humane Society.

The program, along with a focus on adopting more cats out into the community, has helped with the cat population in the shelter.

There is also a program to trap feral cats, when people are available to set traps, and fix those cats as well.

“In the last three to four years we have gotten a handle on the cat population in our shelter,: Steffes said. “We have gotten very active on social media and adoptions have increased. It feels like the same number of cats have come into the shelter, but we have worked hard at the adoption segment and feel like we have done a good job of getting cats in and out.”

Between Oct. 2019 To Sept. 2020, 196 cats came into the shelter — 54 percent from the city, 30 percent from the county, 11 percent from other locations and 6 percent had no records.

However, all the funding for the program comes from the city of McPherson, which shelter representatives believe needs to change.

“We feel like it is time for the county to step up and do their share. Right now the financial burden is really on the city,” Steffes said.

That will play out in the weeks ahead as the Shelter will seek funding from the County Commission, and an increase in funding from the city.

The shelter will be asking for roughly $24,000 from the city, and $15,000 from the county. When computing how much the shelter would ask for from each entity, the percentage of cats taken in from each entity was used. Currently the shelter receives $12,000 from the Fix A Cat program from the city.

“Of the additional funding, 13,500 would be for fix a cat, 28,500 for director’s salary,” Locke said. “If we do not receive funding we will have to close our doors in 12 years. We do have [440,000] in an investment account … we are trying to be proactive. Even if we receive all the funding we are requesting we will have an annual loss of $19,000. It is our hope to use the interest from the investment account to keep things going.”

The McPherson County Humane Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization supported almost entirely by donations. The humane society provides food, shelter and to lost and unwanted cats until a permanent home can be found.

The shelter is a no-kill organization and will euthanize only if medically necessary. Located in a converted church building it is is home to 50-80 cats and kittens at various times throughout the year.

City commissioners asked to have the new appropriations request placed on the agenda for an upcoming fall retreat, Nov. 5.