Several weeks ago, the Humane Society of Henderson County experienced a small victory, when the woman charged with neglect of more than a dozen dogs, signed over her legal rights to those animals. Since that time, the Humane Society has become overcrowded, received relief from the ASPCA who took more than 30 dogs to help find them homes, and now, the Humane Society is again already at full capacity.

As if that weren't disheartening enough, the local government of Henderson is now trying to separate the Humane Society from Animal Control. (Read More Here) As it is right now, the two organizations operate together. Animal Control is currently contracted out to the Humane Society by city and county government. On Monday there was a meeting of city & county officials to discuss the possible changes. In attendance at that meeting, along with many local supporters, was the President of the Humane Society of Henderson County, Josh Williams.

We attended the special meeting of the City Commissioners this afternoon, along with several supporters of ours.  The meeting was brief and the intent was to vote on the Study Committee's document listing all major projects that the City-County are considering.  One of these projects did include $450,000 for a new animal control facility.  We expressed our conce...rns to the board about the outcome of the animals taken in via animal control after the split and we asked to be a part of future discussions.  The commissioners made it clear that their goal was to reduce expenses and that our current contracts were straining their budgets.  They noted that several surrounding counties have recently received state funding for animal control facilities and that Henderson would now stand a good chance of receiving these funds as well.  With funding drying up in many other areas, they want to take full advantage of this possible grant.  They felt that they could maintain operating expenses below what they currently pay out to us by incorporating the operation into existing government departments.  The facility would likely be built on the property of the jail and inmate labor would be extensively used.  When asked about the 7 day stray hold time and adoptions, the Mayor remarked that the City and County are responsible for animal control services.  They are not in the business of adoptions.

The vote easily passed and the Fiscal Court will be voting on the same document Tuesday at 9:30 in the old court house building.  It is open to the public.  One argument that has been mentioned multiple times now is that if we split, the Humane Society would no longer be burdened by the hefty expense of animal control and could focus on improved care of our own animals.  Our counter to this is that it would leave us in a position, assuming we could find a way to restructure operation, to care for a much smaller number of animals each year.  That would leave between 2200-3000 animals unaccounted for.  That goes against our mission of saving these animals.   To be continued... ~Josh Williams, President

I find it unfortunate that a local government would not find the value in sparing every life possible, human or animal. Most of the animals that find their way to the Humane Society are there because of the neglect of their human counterparts. Whether it's abuse, failure to properly provide care to the animal, or failure to spay or neuter causing unwanted litters, these animals are the ones that find their way to the Humane Society and they need us. They need the people who have a heart... who DO find the value in EVERY life.

I don't live in Henderson, so when it comes to voicing my opinion there, it doesn't hold much weight. The catch here is that I know that many of YOU do live in Henderson County, and that means that your voice DOES count! I hope that if you are as moved by this story as I am writing it, that you will take the time to let your local government know that you don't approve of what they are trying to do.

The Humane Society of Henderson County relies solely on charitable donations, and volunteer work. I have been told that: "If you can't afford to give money, give time. If you can afford to give money, give both." This is a great opportunity to give whatever you can. To make a donation, contact the Humane Society.

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