Animal rescue group policies/spay neuter program

Animal rescue group policies/spay neuter program

County Administrator Rod Shoop and Humane Society Director Paul Miller brought this discussion before the Board of County Commissioners during the Tuesday, July 18, 2006 meeting regarding proposed policy recommendations involving Rescue Groups unlimited access to the County's Spay Neuter (SNAP) Program funding. Rescue groups have made demands to have such access. Miller told the Board that the program is set up to benefit private citizens and that unlimited access to the funding would severely limit the availability for citizen assistance.
The non-profit rescue groups have the option of applying for private and governmental funding, and/or either real donations or in-kind donation of services to offset their expenses. Miller said that currently "Rescue" groups work as independent agencies and usually specialize in a particular species, operate as 501c3 non-profit organizations under regulation set by the State and the IRS. Taking an animal from the "streets" eliminates that animal from reproducing, Miller said. Rescue organizations receive discounts from vets for altering and vaccinations and free food through the PetSmart program, donations, and the like.
Non-profit organizations can apply to the Gaming Commission or to appear on the approved non-profit list and to national grant foundations. Local rescue sometimes operate as an arm of large national rescue that is funded through grants, memberships or donations Current SNAP guidelines mandate that funds cannot be used to offset adoption surgery costs and most rescues recover expenses either in full and/or part -through adoption fees.
If all local rescues have unlimited access to SNAP funding, the availability of funds for private individuals would be greatly reduced, Miller said. Commissioner Bill Wivell said that a concern is where would the animals come from. Would the program be using County taxpayer funds to alter animals from other counties or states? Recommendations for Objectives of the SNAP Program would be to assist individuals with the altering of their domestic dog or cat in an effort to reduce the overpopulation of homeless animals according to guidelines passed by the Commissioners in October of 2005.
In addition establishment of a task force was recommended in order to develop a county wide domestic dog and cat overpopulation reduction plan, develop a plan to ensure all dogs, cats and ferrets 4 months of age or older have current rabies vaccinations and, to develop a financial plan and possible funding sources to implement these plans. Miller's recommendation was to leave the policy in place in its current form. Representatives of local rescue organizations and a Veterinary clinic supported the recommendation, to leave the program intact for the time being, until a task force can be formed to develop an equitable policy. The Board reached consensus to appoint a task force to look into the issue.