"What do you mean, we have to pay to bring an unwanted animal to the Humane Society? I thought you people had a heart. I'll just go out and shoot the dog or cat for 25 cents."
Just about every day HART hears this familiar line. As president I would like to inform the public on some of the policies and procedures that Heartland Animal Rescue Team has in place, and maybe clear up a few misconceptions that people have.
HART is a non-profit 501 C (3) organization. The only public support that HART receives is a $4,000 annual donation from Crow Wing County. Minnesota State Statute directs this money to be given annually to the existing Humane Society in the county. These funds are used in caring for the stray animals that come into the shelter from the county, such as dogs and cats left abandoned on the doorstep of HART and investigations in the county. And many services beyond that.
HART also contracts with several municipalities as an impound holding facility. All money involved with impound animals is kept completely separate from the money of the Humane Society. It is operated as two separate businesses.
Now to the issue of charging money for stray animals. It costs an average of $15-$19 a day to give an animal the very basic cares it needs. This daily care includes: food, staff to walk the animal and clean its pen, supplies to clean with, bedding, washing and drying of this bedding, treats, vaccinations when the animal arrives and a shelter. Now if the animal requires medications, special handling or any abnormal care the cost goes above the $19 per day. At any given time HART has about 20 dogs and 25 cats at the facility. So you can figure this is not a money making operation. We are lucky to keep the doors open.
That leads me to the issue of charging the public. HART asks for a surrender fee on all stray and personal animals brought in. I know the strays are not your animal and you were kind enough to take it in and not let it starve, etc. And for this HART thanks you greatly. But please understand if the money doesn't come from you, who will it come from?
Unwanted animals are the problem of the world. HART can only try to help as many animals as possible with the help of the public. And to do this HART must charge surrender and adoption fees.
So please don't bad mouth HART and say "They expect money when you bring an animal in, what is wrong with them?"
Thanks to many wonderful people HART has been helping animals for 14 years, and will continue.
(Wambeke is president of the Heartland Animal Rescue Team.)
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