HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Humane Society has spent most of the year conducting fundraiser after fundraiser to garner money to pay the bills for the Houlton Animal Shelter, care for its animals and pay its staff.
It seems that no matter how much money the shelter brings in, the more animals that come into the facility, straining its finances and pushing the facility to the brink of financial ruin.
The Houlton Town Council has stepped in with a solution, albeit a temporary one.
During a meeting earlier this week, councilors opted to take $6,000 from the town’s animal welfare account and give it to the humane society.
Town Manager Douglas Hazlett said that while the HHS already had proposed raising its contract fees next year to the 26 towns it serves, Hazlett noted that the organization still needed money to get the no-kill Houlton Animal Shelter through the rest of the year.
“In my opinion, this $6,000 should be given to the shelter,” said Hazlett. “We’d be very hard-pressed to find another agency to do all that they do for us if they did not do it.”
In a letter to the town, Cathy Davis, president of the humane society, said the shelter could expect to pay $6,000 this heating season if fuel oil remained at $3.50 a gallon. She noted that in the past 13 months, the shelter had held 31 fundraisers to keep the shelter going. Fundraisers are under way with more scheduled through the start of the new year.
The shelter now is housing 210 cats, she added.
Houlton resident Phil Bernaiche said during the meeting that he had heard from one resident that it cost $100 to adopt an animal from the shelter, which Davis quickly denied during the recent council meeting. She said the shelter charged a $60 adoption fee to cover the cost of spaying or neutering the animal.
“We can’t, by state law, give out an animal that has not been spayed or neutered,” she added.
Councilor Walter Goodrich agreed that it was a good idea to help out the shelter.
“I am in favor of this,” he said. “I think the shelter does all it can to keep costs down.”
Councilors eventually voted 5-0 to give the $6,000 to the organization.