New River Humane Society meets with county commission about budget shortfall

FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – At the beginning of the year, the New River Humane Society requested $192,000 for the fiscal year.

The Fayette County Commission only granted $161,000 due to depleting coal severance.

Working with $31,000 less than what they expected this year, the New River Humane Society went before the county commission on Friday to get an update on funding and to see if there were any available funds from last year to help with payroll.

“We’re trying to work with them to have a good service provided throughout the county funding the humane society, who does a great job in my opinion, to be able to take it through a whole 12 months with a comfort zone that they will be funded for what they need,” Commission President Denise Scalph said.

The commission decided to look at other funding sources as well as pay for an audit to see where that funding would be best used.

Last year, the humane society faced a $44,000 cut.

The Humane Society had not been able to fundraise during these times, but COVID has not slowed down intake as the humane society has taken in around 856 animals since March, which is why keeping all of their staff is vital.

Not only do they care for animals in their shelter, they are also running programs to give out pet food and spay and neuter animals.

“They’re the ones who are day in day out taking care of our animals and throughout this whole process,” Board President Kathy Gerencer said. “They’re nervous. They don’t know the state of us, of the county being able to fund us for payroll.”

From here, the commission plans to meet again with the New River Humane Society to look at other sources of revenue to try and get them $31,000 as Scalph says it just was not feasible in this year’s budget.

This could be through budget surplus if there is any or looking at virtual fundraisers.

The commission wanted to make the public aware their donations are also vital and there are ways you can do that directly or through programs like Kroger Community Rewards and Amazon Smiles.

“Without the humane society, we would have dogs and cats running all over worse than we already do, so they do a really good job and it’s a no kill shelter,” Commissioner John Brenemen said. “So if they have a large, large amount of dogs or cats or kittens and puppies they make arrangements to get them out to other states where there’s more of a population looking for them so that way we’re not overrun with all of these animals.”

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.