Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McIntosh Animal Shelter Succeeding; County, Though, Is Really Hoping for a Break in Funds Paid to HART Group

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McIntosh Animal Shelter Succeeding; County, Though, Is Really Hoping for a Break in Funds Paid to HART Group

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

DARIEN | McIntosh HART's takeover of animal services in McIntosh County appears to be working, officials said.

Especially for the animals.

The nonprofit HART, an acronym for Humane Animal Resource Team, took over the operation of the county animal shelter in October and turned it into a no-kill shelter, HART board member Dick Lang said.

"We've gone from a 92 percent rate of euthanasia to 12 percent" he said.

Unlike the old days when dogs and cats were put down if they stayed too long in the shelter, only animals that are too sick or too vicious are euthanized now, Lang said.

Before it took over, HART already was at work raising money to supplement the shelter and finding homes for previously unwanted pets, in some cases paying to ship them north where there's a shortage of shelter animals.

"We moved 65 out of state in a month," HART president Jane Huvar said. As for those animals that are euthanized, Huvar said, "We get a high abundance of heartworm-positive dogs," some too far gone to survive the treatment.

There is a bottom line, however, and so far the county is paying more than it did previously, McIntosh County Manager Brett Cook said.

Cook said he fully expects the county to get back of some of the $13,540 allocated monthly to HART to operate animal services.

"They've indicated they'll return money,'' he said.

The county is paying HART more because the nonprofit formerly provided pet food, supplies and other goods it had bought through fundraisers and with donations, Cook said.

Because there was no way to predict how successful HART's fundraising would be, the county's funding is based on the full cost. When money from HART's fundraisers and donations are put into the mix, the county may realize some savings, Cook said.

The shelter is being expanded to provide 15 more big dog kennels and on-site housing for 60 cats because the animals - especially the cats - can stay there longer. …

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