Friends of the Shelter needing donations for spay/neuter program

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, August 22, 2019

Friends of the Bell County Animal Shelter continue to help decrease the animal overpopulation in Bell County with their spay/neuter program.

Tuesday at the Middlesboro City Council meeting, Jennifer Nagle, who was there representing Friends of the Bell County Animal Shelter, asked if Middlesboro would continue to support the spay/neutering program.

“I’m here to ask you to continue your support and your financial support of the spay/neuter program that Friends of the Shelter has been providing since 2003 for the low income pet owners in Bell County,” Nagle said. “We are so grateful for the support that Middlesboro has given us and you all have been very generous in giving us this support for over five years for the spay/neuter program. We want to thank you for that.”

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Nagle explained that through the support of governments, both city and county, it provides groups like theirs to be able to provide these kinds of programs.

“Our spay/neuter program is for the low income pet owners in Bell County,” she explained. “They have to qualify for this program. Whether it is some form of government assistance or a household of four can’t have a household income of over $25,000.”

She said that local vets also cooperate with their program to help decrease animal overpopulation.

“They provide reduced cost spay neuter surgeries for these pets,” she explained. “They also get vaccines and the veterinary services such as worming for the pets. This is a great service that the vets cooperate with us to provide to these low income pet owners. These families could not get their pets spayed or neutered any other way.”

Approximately 400 dogs and cats are spayed and neutered through this program.

“Last year, we spent $23,000 in Bell County with our spay/neuter program,” she said. “Middlesboro contributed $5,000, Bell County $5,000, Pineville $1,000, and we got $5,000 from a grant maker and Friends of the Shelter raised $7,000. With that targeted spay/neuter program, we really address the animal overpopulation.”

Problems that are caused by animal overpopulation include disease, such as rabies, threats to humans including bites and scratches, property damage, interrupted mail services, accidents, noise and the appearance of the community.

“So, it really is a public health and safety issue but with this spay/neuter program, we get a cleaner, safer, more attractive community,” Nagle said. “I know you all know that, and you’ve been supporting us for years.”

Nagle asked the Middlesboro City Council to commit to $5,000 to continue the program.

“We need your help more than ever and I’ll tell you why,” Nagle began to explain. “We are not going to get that $5,000 from the grant money this year. We’ve had that grant money, and we have exhausted our lifetime grant money from that grant maker and that’s it. We are going to continue all the hard work that we do to raise money.”

The group just held an end of summer fundraiser at Pizza Hut to raise money, and the group is hard at work continuing to raise money but they need help. Nagle said that Bell County has committed $5,000, and they will be approaching Pineville to get a commitment from them as well.

Councilman Philip Ball took a moment to commend the shelter on all the work they continue to do.

“Thank you to you and your board,” he said. “You’ve done a great job in the past years, ever since you all have taken it over.”

Ball asked Nagle a figure on the general cat and dog population at the shelter.

“Last year in 2018, there were 923 cats at the shelter,” she explained. “The shelter does not pick up cats. The state law does not require animal shelters to pick up cats. Obviously, they pick up dogs and there were 1,524 dogs at the shelter last year.”

She said that she can personally attest that the numbers of the animals at the shelter have dramatically gone down from the years that she began working there.

“From 2010 until now, the number of animals at the shelter has reduced in the thousands and I believe that it’s because of the spay/neuter program,” Nagle stated. “We are saving money and we are saving money at the shelter. We are saving money for law enforcement, we are saving money at the health department on not as many dog bites, and the spay/neuter program is responsible for that.”

“We appreciate everything that you all do,” Ball responded.

Middlesboro Mayor Rick Nelson said that the financial commitment would be discussed within the council, and they would get back to her on a final answer in the upcoming weeks.

If you would like to make a donation to the Bell County Animal Shelter, you can call 606-337-6331 or mail it to 719 Highway 1534 Pineville, Kentucky 40977.