HSEC struggles with funding, budgets

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Finding funding to continue services at the Humane Society of Escambia County’s shelters has been slow in coming and officials with the group are hoping to scratch out sources of income.

Renee Jones, director of shelters for HSEC, said some contracts have been made with others still hanging in the balance.

“We have been fortunate to receive contracts from Escambia County and the city of Flomaton so far this fiscal year,” Jones said. “We are still hoping to work out a contract for services for Brewton, East Brewton and Atmore.”

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Jones said a $100,000 contract has been secured from Escambia County and an additional $15,000 contract has been made with the city of Flomaton. Requests for budgeting consideration in Brewton, East Brewton and Atmore have been made but no solid commitment has been made.

“We are still working out details with the city of Brewton and have already gotten some commitment from them for financial assistance,” Jones said. “We are working on some details that will help in our operational costs to offset our expenses. We’ve been included in their budget, but everything isn’t quite where we need it.”

Jones said services in Atmore have already been suspended since officials there did not respond to their request for financial assistance.

“We had asked every municipality in our service area to respond to our request to be included in their budgets by Oct. 1,” Jones said. “When we didn’t get commitments from a particular area, we discontinued our services there. We are not providing any animal control or sheltering services for Atmore or East Brewton.”

Animals who are picked up or surrender to HSEC are being housed in Brewton at the shelter on U.S. 31 and Jones said improvements have been made at the facility in recent months.

“We’ve had some wonderful help in making some improvements at the shelter,” Jones said. “Kim and Norm Parisey donated and built shelves and ladders for our new kitty kingdom at the shelter and we are very thankful for that work.”

Donations and help from people like the Parisey’s will be necessary to keep the shelter working and Jones said there are plenty of opportunities for anyone who wants to help.

“We are always accepting donations of just about anything,” Jones said. “From cat and dog food to supplies and even cash. Even $5 and $10 donations help out. We have some people who regularly donate to help us in our puppy transports. A $15 per puppy sponsorship helps with transportation and care for the puppies to find new homes in other cities.”

Jones said the group is  doing their part to cut costs  and get help in new ways.

“Anytime you have constraints either financially or physically, you have to think outside the box,” Jones said. “We have already reduced our staff from 13 to five. We’ve also started using inmate labor to cut our expenses even further. We are doing everything we can to keep our expenses as low as possible and still provide adequate services to those municipalities and the county who are willing to support our work.”

Jones said HSEC members and volunteers are already looking at ways to raise funds needed to keep services going.

Donations can be made by visiting the Website, www.petango.com/humanesocietybrewton.