Donations help Humane Society operate

HARLINGEN — Donations are pouring in to help the Harlingen Humane Society.

Across the area, businesses are challenging other businesses to help the Humane Society, which has announced it is broke.

“It’s a great outpouring,” President Pat Turman-White said yesterday.

“We’ve been getting donations right and left. We’ve got businesses challenging other businesses, people doing fundraisers.”

But it’s unlikely that will solve the Humane Society’s financial crisis.

So, that’s why city commissioners tomorrow are expected to approve $25,000 in funding to help the Humane Society operate through the end of the fiscal year, closing in September.

Turman-White said the society’s financial condition impacts Harlingen and surrounding cities.

“It needs to happen,” she said of community donations. “People need to be aware.”

On Facebook, Bloomers sparked a challenge among area businesses.

“Businesses are challenging other businesses and individuals are challenging other individuals,” said Lenzie Fuller Betancourt, the shop’s manager. “We’re trying to come up with something that can get the whole community involved.”

Challenges range from $50 to $100, she said.

“We need their help and as a community we need to support them,” she said. “We are all animal lovers here. We all take in strays. We foster-care animals because the Humane Society is always full.”

At Louie’s Little Shop, owner Luis Villarreal was up for the challenge.

“The local community should get together to help the Harlingen Humane Society,” Villarreal said. “This is to help everybody before it’s too late. It’s a shame this didn’t happen sooner.”

By about 6 p.m. yesterday, a Facebook Go Fund Me drive had collected $1,450.

Last week, the Humane Society was requesting a $50,000 “emergency donation” from the city of Harlingen to remain in operation.

“We are literally one pay period away from having to shut down the facility,” Turman-White wrote City Manager Dan Serna in an April 3 letter.

Turman-White told Serna $50,000 would “help us get through the year.”

The Humane Society operates on an annual budget of about $1 million, she said.

Donations generate most of the revenue, while the city of Harlingen gives the agency $135,000 a year to help fund services.

But the financial crisis has led the society to “cut back on several programs,” Turman-White told Serna.

Turman-White said an estimated 50 percent of the Humane Society’s subsidized spay and neutering services are performed on dogs and cats from outside Harlingen, but area cities have refused to help share costs.

Now, the agency cannot afford to continue to subsidize costs for residents outside Harlingen, she said.

So the agency has been forced to increase costs of spay and neutering services for dogs and cats from outside Harlingen, Turman-White said.

The program offering subsidized spay and neutering services has dramatically slashed the number of stray dogs and cats euthanized at the shelter.

In 2007, the Humane Society euthanized 8,100 dogs and cats.

Last year, that number dropped to 5,041.

Cost of providing subsidized spay and neuter services:

Harlingen $88,575 for 1,181 vouchers

San Benito $34,500 for 460 vouchers

Raymondville $20,225 for 403 vouchers

La Feria $8,500 for 114 vouchers