Home News COVID-19 Situation Humane Society struggles with lack of funding

Humane Society struggles with lack of funding

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Krystle Smith, kennel manager at the Roswell Humane Society, gestures to a 10-week-old puppy at the society’s kennels Wednesday morning. With its thrift store closed for about five months in 2020, the organization has had to make cuts to staff and operating hours. (Juno Ogle Photo)

With its thrift store closed for about five months in 2020 due to the public health order, the Roswell Humane Society has had to cut expenses including staff and operating hours.

Monetary donations are greatly needed now, Kennel Manager Krystle Smith said Wednesday.

Both the thrift store and kennel, 701 and 703 E. McGaffey St., cut their hours in December, each opening one day less a week.

Hours for the kennel are 9 a.m to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. The thrift store is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

The thrift store, in normal times, brings in about $1,000 a day and is the Humane Society’s main source of revenue, Smith said.

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“We went five months without any money coming in,” she said.

“Even since we’ve been able to reopen, people just aren’t shopping like they used to,” she said.

“We’re hurting. It’s quite expensive to operate a shelter on a monthly basis because we don’t get discounts off our utility bills. We get charged business rates because we are technically a business,” she said.

The water bill runs about $1,000 a month, electricity $700 to $1,200 and natural gas around $600 a month, she said. Add in costs such as insurance, payroll and veterinary care, and the organization’s expenses are about $30,000 a month, Smith said.

At the kennel, one employee was laid off and the five remaining employees had hours reduced to part-time. The thrift store has made similar cuts, letting go two employees and reducing two others to part-time, Smith said.

The kennel has taken other cost-saving measures, such as leaving lights off in rooms when people are not in them, she said.

In addition, with the holidays over, the kennel is seeing an increase in animals coming in.

“People give pets as gifts, people don’t want them and they turn to us because they were given a pet they didn’t want,” she said.

Around 40 dogs and 30 cats were housed in the kennels Wednesday morning, with more expected later in the day, Smith said.

The Humane Society did receive a grant from funds made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act after the thrift store was initially closed, Smith said, but has not been able to get additional funds since then.

“We got one, but we don’t qualify for any of the other ones,” she said of the CARES Act grants.

“One of our board members has spent countless hours applying for different grants and different funding, and it’s just denial after denial after denial,” she said.

Reasons for the denials include the city’s population or the thrift store’s business size not being high enough, and not having a veterinarian on staff.

A social media appeal for pet food on Dec. 19 resulted in more than 50 donations of 50-pound bags that will allow the kennel to feed the animals it has for a while. Smith said the kennel will go through about one and a half of those a day.

Aside from monetary donations, cleaning supplies are also needed. When the thrift store provided regular revenue, the Humane Society could buy supplies in bulk but has not been able to with the reduced income, Smith said.

“Our biggest need right now is 33-gallon trash bags and 13-gallon trash bags and just plain, cheap cat litter,” she said.

Disinfecting wipes, sprays and bleach are also needed, she said.

“We’re hoping that once we can get some help and funding that we can reopen back up to normal business hours,” Smith said.

The kennel is still open for adoptions and the thrift store is taking donations of items. Arrangements can be made for thrift store personnel to pick up donations if they can’t be brought to the store by calling 575-623-9219.

Cash or check donations can be made or sent to the Roswell Humane Society at 703 E. McGaffey St., Roswell NM 88201. Credit card donations can be made by phone by calling 575-622-8950.

Donations can also be made online by credit card or PayPal at www.roswellhumane.org.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.