The Humane Society of Young County is staying afloat thanks in part to grants and donations, but the increasing number of incoming animals is endangering its future.

It costs $17,000 per month to keep its doors open, but while the shelter did receive a $50,000 grant from the Meadows Foundation, it is only enough to cover about three months of expenses. 

“We are largely funded by the community,” said Kim Baxter, HSYC executive director. “It’s nice (for donors) to give a nice chunk of money at Christmas time, but we need funding all year. We’re always in need. It’s not ever going go away.”

The HSYC is a non-profit organization funded by donations and funds from the city and county for housing animals picked up by animal control, but that doesn’t cover all of the expenses. Over the last three years, the intake of animals at the shelter continues to increase. 

The shelter took in 1,300 animals in 2011 and 1,535 in 2012. Baxter expects the shelter will have taken in 1,650 animals in 2013.

“The bottom line for strays, which makes me ill, is to spay and neuter your animals,” she said.

Baxter said that PETS, (Prevent Euthanasia Through Sterilization), an organization out of Wichita Falls, can make getting animals spayed or neutered easy and affordable. 

“We have one of the best spay/neuter programs with PETS. They have programs where you can spay/neuter animals for free,” Baxter said. “Take advantage of it. They come down every month. All you have to do is talk to them and they can get you qualified through their grant. Even without a grant their prices are so reasonable that you can get your animals spayed so inexpensively.”

Right now, the Humane Society is housing more than 100 dogs, and more than 80 cats, most of which are strays.

“Where does a stray come from? An animal that’s been dumped by someone who didn’t want their pet,” she said. “Most of our animals that come through the doors are strays.”

(Julianne Murrah)

Baxter said that normally at this time of the year, the number of incoming animals decreases and the outgoing number increases, but that’s not the case this year.

“I have seen people not caring about their animals this year more than I have since the seven years that I’ve been here,” Baxter said. “I’ve seen more animals dumped. I’ve see more people threaten at me to dump their animals. ‘I don’t want my dog, or cat — if you won’t take it, I’ll dump it.’”

(Julianne Murrah)

Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.