Spay/neuter funding in place
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
County funding for spay/neuter vouchers is once again in place. The topic was discussed again at the December Crawford County Council meeting, after SNAP funding was suspended in the fall due to financial strains resulting from COVID-19.
Auditor Christian Howell said vouchers were issued again beginning Dec. 1 and said several were distributed last month. She noted the county has funded SNAP at the same level as last year — $5,000 — for 2021.
Crawford County does not have an animal control shelter or officer to handle animal matters, and there is no veterinarian in the county. Therefore, several years ago the council established funding to help residents obtain spay/neuter services for pets and strays working with a neighboring humane society.
River Valley Humane Society coordinates the effort. Danielle Hawkins, a member of that organization, addressed the council in December, thanking members for continuing to support the vouchers.
“We really do need it, especially now with the weather being cold,” she said, noting volunteers deal with many cases of animals literally starving to death.
Pet overpopulation is a huge issue, she said.
Hawkins asked why the vouchers were suspended and why River Valley wasn’t informed that was happening.
“I made the decision when funding was low,” Howell said, adding she emailed River Valley volunteers to inform them of the change.
Hawkins, however, said she did not receive that correspondence.
Typically, the council would vote on such a matter but, because of the unusual circumstances due to COVID, the council gave Howell authority to make changes necessary to pay contracts that were due in December.
Funding the county receives from Orange and Harrison counties gaming casinos fell drastically during the spring and summer, resulting in budget shortfalls. SNAP funding comes from riverboat revenue.
Howell assured Hawkins and the other volunteers present that she explained the situation to residents who called requesting a voucher.