Back in July, the Pender County Health Department and the Topsail Humane Society agreed the humane society would take over operations of the county animal shelter. But with a tight county budget, the humane society said there is just not enough money to cover costs. Who will care for the animals? The humane society said they can not afford to do it anymore. This week, the humane society gave the county a 30-day notice, saying it will no longer be able to operate the county shelter in Burgaw. The humane society agreed to take control of the shelter in July when the county offered them $60,000 to run the facility. Humane society executive director, Cathy Williams said when they took over it needed more than $60,000 worth of work. The budget did not cover many upgrades the humane society said the facility needed. The society dipped into their donation pool to bring the shelter up to code. "We knew we were going in the hole and we wanted to do it because we wanted to make better conditions for the animals,” said Williams. “They had not passed a couple of their Department of Agriculture inspections so we wanted to go in there, we knew it was going in our budget and that was okay." Williams hoped the county would increase their budget the following year to cover expenses; the humane society wanted three times the amount the county offered. “It's been a good relationship. Unfortunately, she needed more money to operate than we have available to put in the budget," Pender County Health Director, Jack Griffith said. The humane society said it takes at least 4 full-time workers to run the shelter properly, plus the cost of vaccinations and food. Under a tight budget, the county will only be able to keep two full-time workers on staff. Griffith said, "They'll have a clean environment and plenty of food and water. They will not be mistreated and they will be taken care of as best as we possibly can." The county will retake control April 1st. Because only two shelter attendants will be kept on staff, there is the potential for five people to lose their jobs. The Topsail Humane Society will continue business as usual in Hampstead; taking in animals and finding people to adopt them.
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