Trying to stay open, Humane Society makes changes including director

Megan Trail, former supervisor of the Humane Society of Independence County, was recently named as the new director, and despite the organization’s financial hardships, she said she is happy to be asked.

“That place has my heart,” she said of the organization. “I love running a shelter. I hope to be there forever and ever.”

Trail’s passion is a reminder of her mentor and Humane Society founder Bev Finch, whose care for the animals and service to the humane society has been highly appreciated, and recognized by several media outlets throughout the years. Click here to read more about Finch.

Finch said Trail has worked at the shelter in all capacities, and therefore knows what to expect from the employees. She describes Megan as a “very passionate animal lover with a good head on her shoulders.”

“[Megan is] competent, hard-working, able to see the big picture, and wants what’s best for the shelter.”

OBSTACLES AHEAD

The average amount the humane society currently spends on an animal prior to its adoption is $265. They charged $50 per adoption in 2011, $75 per adoption in 2015, and now charge $100 for dogs and $90 for cats. In order to get closer to a break-even point, leaders say they have had to identify ways to cut expenses per animal.

“We met with the vets last week, and the first thing we changed are medical procedures,“ said Trail. “We don’t want to over-vet the animals. We have to decide what vet services are necessary and what can be put to the side.”

Additional reductions involve cutting the number of staffed positions from seven employees down to five, and two of the five are part-time.

FINANCIALS

Based upon comparable humane society organizations, Batesville’s has bled money at triple the rate as its closet bleeder, which is the Harrison humane society. The data is based on a six-year period of financials available upon Propublica (2012-2017).

This has led to a yearly decline of net assets.

See chart below for a visual of their change in cash and savings from one year to the next. Red means a decline, black means an incline.

Large, timely, one-time donations, as well as passionate volunteers like Trail and Finch, have kept the doors open until now. The shelter is hopeful for volunteers and donors to keep the doors open in the future. There are 11,000 more animals out there who may have to go without help in the absence of a place like the local humane society.

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