Humane Society Wants out of Financial Doghouse

Article excerpt

Byline: Kelly Donovan, Times-Union staff writer

The Jacksonville Humane Society has launched a mailing campaign to raise $80,000 by June -- one of several 2002 fund-raising efforts aimed to get the non-profit organization out of the red.

"The last couple years, we've been working in a deficit, and we need to raise more money to cover the basic expenses," said Sonya White, Humane Society executive director. "Our services and our special programs don't cover the cost for all the expenses we absorb in taking in owned animals and stray animals from the community."

The humane society's expenses came to nearly $1.83 million in 2000, exceeding its income by $445,933. Eighty-five percent of expenses that year were for animal services, including taking in thousands of strays for the city and trying to prevent cruelty to animals.

In 2000, 88 percent of the society's income came from donations, contributions, special events, programs, adoptions and thrift store revenues. Eight percent came from the city, and four percent from interest and investments.

In addition to the spring mailing campaign, another ongoing fund-raising effort is the 2003 Furry Faces Calendar search. The humane society is accepting photos with $10 entry fees from pet owners who think their critters are cute enough to be in the calendar.

An annual fund-raising event, the Fur Ball Gala, is scheduled for June 1.

Michael Tyde, society board president, said he thinks Jacksonville residents should do what they can to help.

"The community is benefited by the work of the organization, and the community needs to be supportive," he said. "By getting these animals off the street, it helps cut down on harm to the animals, and and it also cuts down on harm to the citizens of Jacksonville."

The society's budget problems are related to the steady flow of animals that come into its Beach Boulevard shelter -- about 16,000 annually. The number of residents who go to the shelter to adopt pets is low compared to the number of animals available; only 3,491 were adopted in 2001. Thousands of animals need to be euthanized every year to make room for the animals the society receives every day. …