Budget trouble leaves Mayflower Animal Control short staffed, afraid for the future

Recent budget adjustments have caused Mayflower Animal Control and its shelter to struggle to maintain and keep their animals.

 

Mayor Randy Holland said it’s not exactly a budget cut, but that the department went over budget after exceeding its allotted 21 hours for part-time employees.

Mayflower Animal Control officer Danny Leigh said he only found out about the budget adjustment three days ago and being the only full-time employee, he is working seven days a week for animal control while also running code enforcement.

With the adjustment cutting into his part-time employees hours, Leigh said that means more time he will have to work.

“If there are animals in the shelter, someone has to be there to tend to them,” he said. “[Someone has to] feed them, give them water and clean up after them.”

As of Friday, the shelter, which only contains six kennels, is housing seven dogs, eight kittens and four adult cats.

Leigh says the shelter gets 10-15 calls a day, and there is nowhere to take in all of the animals that show up in the city and no way of catching people in the act of dropping them off.

Leigh said his concern is that the budget adjustments will ultimately result in more animals being euthanized because there is no way to maintain all of them with so little staff, as the shelter already relies heavily on donations and volunteers.

This would also diminish the success the shelter has seen over the past few years.

So far this year, 110 animals have been taken in at the shelter, more than double what it had this time last year. Of those 110 animals, most are now in foster care, and none of them have been euthanized.

In 2016, the shelter took in 240 animals. Eighty six of those animals went to rescue societies, 20 were reunited with their owners and 129 were adopted around the city.

Only four animals were euthanized in 2016, and those were due to medical reasons where it was the only option to keep the animal from suffering.

After the tornadoes of 2015, the shelter took in 152 animals. Forty five were released to rescue societies, eight were returned to owners and 99 were adopted.

Most animals taken in by the shelter are dropped off from all over the county.

Mayflower and Conway are the only two cities in Faulkner County with animal shelters. There is not yet a county shelter.

Holland said that the county has the money and the land space to build a shelter, the only problem would be being able to maintain it.

Holland suggests there be “satellites” in cities around the county to house animals temporarily until the shelter could be informed.

The use of volunteers and nonprofits like Paws and Whiskers Society to care for and help the animals while the shelter is contacted, was also an idea the mayor suggested.

Ideally, Holland said, there will eventually be a shelter that is centrally located and county maintained.

Holland plans to send a letter to the county to propose his solution to Mayflower’s animal control issues.

Reports from Mayflower Animal Control and Paws and Whiskers Society will be made at Mayflower’s next city council meeting, at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

 

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