Favorite

To spay or to shelter? 

Faulkner Co. animal advocates want funds for sterilization.

While most counties in Arkansas would likely have to go hunting for funds to spend on animal welfare programs, Faulkner County animal advocates say their county has a different problem: It's flush with cash set aside strictly for unwanted pets, but no political will to spend it.

Faulkner County has a voluntary program that allows landowners to earmark a percentage of their property tax for animal welfare. Enacted in 2004, the tax program has already taken in over $530,000, money the Quorum Court wants to spend on building an animal shelter. Some animal advocates in Faulkner County, however, say a portion of the money would be better spent spaying and neutering animals to cut down on the number of strays.

Faulkner County Judge Preston Scroggins said the shelter would cost "anywhere from $800,000 to a million dollars." The voluntary tax program brings in between $70,000 and $80,000 a year, he said. The hope is that the tax will provide the shelter's yearly operating budget. "There's none of this going to be cheap," he said.

If the Quorum Court goes ahead with its plan, Scroggins said, Faulkner will be the only county in the state to own and operate a shelter.

Scroggins said there have been several groups that have come before the Quorum Court and pitched proposals for spay and neuter programs, "but the court just didn't seem to bite on it."

Judi Standridge, a volunteer with the Humane Society of Faulkner County and the HSFC's Companions Spay/Neuter Clinic, said the clinic has performed over 10,000 free sterilizations in four years, paid for by grants. She and others proposed a spay/neuter voucher system, paid for out of the animal welfare fund, to the Quorum Court last summer.

Standridge said the Quorum Court members aren't schooled on animal welfare issues and what it takes to counter the problem of strays. She adds that the proposal to build a shelter is simply a way to get animal welfare advocates "off their back." 

Standridge said many animal advocates in Faulkner County believe that even if a shelter is built, it will fill up quickly. "Then it'll be a mass killing," she said. "That's why our organization decided to use all of our money and effort in the operation of a spay/neuter clinic because we really feel like statistics tell us you can't adopt your way out — or even euthanize your way out — of the overpopulation problem. You really have to start with spaying and neutering."  She contends a three-pronged approach — using the fund to pay for spaying/neutering, a shelter, and adoptions — is a better idea.

Justice of the Peace Barbara Mathes, who represents District 4 on the Quorum Court, said the proposals for using the fund to spay and neuter have been vague. "I didn't think it was laid out well enough of how we're going to do it, where the procedures are going to be done, and that sort of thing," she said.

"What are we going to do?" Mathes said. "Are we going to pick the stray dog up and spay or neuter it and then turn it back loose? What are we going to do with it? ... Who is going to pick up that animal? Where are we going to take it to? There's a lot of unanswered questions."

Judge Scroggins said that going to the fund for a spay/neuter program would mean an even longer amount of time before a shelter could be built, and could even deplete the fund. "If they did dip into the fund right now," he said, "say you spent $50,000 to $60,000 a year on spay and neuter, it'd be gone pretty quick."

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by David Koon

  • Blue smoke

    Since 1983, Little Rock's Nichols & Simpson Organbuilders has built a reputation for uncompromising excellence.
    • Mar 2, 2019
  • It's the Best and Worst 2018

    Our annual salute to weird, worrisome, wonderful Arkansas.
    • Dec 20, 2018
  • Fast forward in Blytheville

    The East Coast Timing Association held its Arkansas 1-Mile Challenge in September, where racers from all over the country mixed gasoline, steel and passion in the pursuit of raw speed.
    • Oct 11, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Arkansas Reporter

  • Lance Hines wants to make Little Rock a better place for new business

    As City Director of Ward 5, Lance Hines wants to represent the business community’s interests on the city board. Now in his third term as a city director, Hines said he wants to make both residential and retail development easier in Little Rock and increase the city’s revenue by recruiting “one of a kind” retailers to make it a source for “destination shopping.”
    • Apr 8, 2019
  • House approves Medicaid budget on second try

    The Arkansas House of Representatives narrowly approved a bill to fund the state's Medicaid program on Tuesday, completing legislative action on the appropriation and handing a victory to Governor Hutchinson.
    • Apr 2, 2019
  • House rejects bills to limit minimum wage increase

    Two bills sponsored by Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-Elm Springs) to undo substantial portions of the minimum wage hikes approved by voters in November were voted down easily Monday in the Arkansas House of Representatives.
    • Apr 2, 2019
  • More »

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation