Shelter needs help now

Published 10:13 pm Thursday, November 13, 2008

Board members of the Central Alabama Animal Shelter say they need money soon, or they might have to close the doors.

“We have no money,” said Kelly Sue Giampietro, one of the shelter’s board members. “We live by the seat of our pants.”

Currently, the board says it has less than $500 to meet operating expenses at the shelter. The board continues to appeal to individuals and local organizations for private donations to help feed, provide vaccines and care for the animals in their care.

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Recently, board members met with Mayor George Evans to talk about the crisis. Evans promised he would look at what the city contributes and would attempt to work out something to help the shelter.

Evans took office only a week ago and still does not have a full picture of the city’s finances. “This was my first time to hear about their situation. I’m going to research it and see what the city can do.”

Evans said he will meet again with the shelter board members to go over possible solutions.

Documents from the city’s financial department provided by City Treasurer Cynthia Mitchell shows from October 2007 until September 2008, the city paid $22,345.18 for shelter operations. Among those expenses, $4,314 to Alabama Gas, $10,221.27 to Alabama Power; $307.58 to AT&T; $402.14 for animal care equipment and service. The operations costs also included $7,100 for roof repair paid out of oil lease money from members of the Selma City Council.

Additionally, the city paid a total of $53,481.57 for two salaries and fringe benefits, bringing the total animal shelter cost for a year up to $75,826.75.

Dallas County budgets $57,066 each year for animal control, which benefits the shelter. Documents from the Dallas County Commission show the county pays wages and fringes for an employee, uniforms, vehicle maintenance, insurance and repair, general liability insurance and for communications.

The commission budget also shows the county budgets $25,200 each year to pay to the city for the animal shelter. Mitchell’s bookkeeping at the city acknowledges receipt of the county funds, but does not specifically show how the contribution is divided line item-by-line item.

Giampietro and other board members say they’d like to see all the cash paid out by the county so they could make improvements to the building, purchase cleaning supplies and other items.

But the shelter also needs continuing donations of food, cleaning supplies, newspapers, towels and blankets for the animals, Giampietro said.

“We’re appealing to the public for donations,” she said. “We need the money.”