Jasmine Kyle, business and promotions manager for the Southeast Kansas Humane Society, addressed the Crawford County Commission this week to ask the county government to help fund the services her organization provides.
"We have been operating for more than 40 years and our shelter typically runs at capacity, housing over 100 cats and dogs," Kyle said at Tuesday’s county commission meeting.
Last year, she said, the SEK Humane Society took in more than 800 animals, more than three quarters of which came from Crawford County and more than half from Pittsburg.
"Several animal shelters and humane societies across Kansas have partnered with their local counties and cities to help continue their mission and to be able to assist with high amounts of unwanted animals," Kyle said.
Throughout its four-decade history, the SEK Humane Society, which is a no-kill animal shelter and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, has been entirely funded by donations, she said. While many people might think there are numerous grant funding opportunities for animal shelters, Kyle said, such grants are highly competitive, receiving applications from thousands of shelters.
The humane society currently operates on a $240,000 annual budget, Kyle said, which is much lower than other Kansas animal shelters.
She cited Ottawa as an example of a city with a lower population than Pittsburg but a shelter that receives almost four times as much funding, "which means at the SEK Humane Society we watch every single penny and we make it count," she said.
Commissioner Tom Moody said he had not previously seen the data Kyle presented about the humane society’s funding and the number of animals it cares for.
"I know you guys do great work out there," he said, "and we would be in a world of hurt without you, because we would be the ones dealing with this."
Moody asked what the humane society was asking for, and Kyle said anything from $40,000 to $75,000 "would be a huge blessing for us to be able to continue intaking all those animals."
Commissioner Jeremy Johnson said he would like to see examples of contracts that other counties have with their local animal shelters.
"That would be very helpful I think as a benchmark to getting a lay of the land of how that functions," he said. "That along with maybe a further breakdown of how that money could be used would be helpful for us."
The county commissioners did not make any final decision at Tuesday’s meeting but Kyle said she would stay in contact to provide more information about the shelter’s funding request.