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Wadena board hears appeal from County Humane Society

Caroline Hartman and Susan Stoddard of the Wadena County Humane Society (WCHS) appeared before the Wadena County Board at its July 10 meeting to ask for help. The WCHS needs money to care for the dogs impounded by the police or county deputies, the abandoned cats and dogs it takes in, and the dogs and cats surrendered by their owners because the owners can no longer care for them.            

The county gives the Wadena County Humane Society a small annual allocation of $700.  The rest of the WCHS budget of $30,000 per year comes from grants and donations, but the budget does not cover the costs of caring for the animals.

The federal Clean Neighborhoods and Environmental Act of 2005 placed the responsibility of caring for stray and unwanted animals on local governments, not including police agencies. This means townships and counties are responsible for providing facilities to care for abandoned and homeless companion animals like dogs and cats.

Hartman is trying to educate the townships and cities of Wadena County about their responsibilities, but so far only the City of Menahga has its own animal impound facility.  The rest of the local governments bring their impounded, abandoned and homeless pets to the WCHS, but do not provide enough funding to care for the animals.

Hartman said WCHS took in 187 homeless animals last year. Each animal receives a physical examination from a veterinarian, a bath and plenty of food and water.  The WCHS searches for the owners of abandoned animals, but if no owner can be located, the cat or dog is put up for adoption. These services are costly, and Hartman and the Humane Society board want the county to increase its annual support.

Board Chair Ralph Miller told Hartman the board would consider her request as it prepares the budget for 2013.