Wendy Alexander/Madera Tribune File Photo
Bradley Flores, and Madera County Animal Shelter Director Kirsten Gross, hold animals at the shelter. Madera County supervisors voted to extend financial support for the Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter.
Madera County supervisors have voted to extend their financial support of the work of The Friends of Madera Animal Shelter volunteers in spaying and neutering local pets.
The supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to transfer another $100,000 collected from adoption fees at the Madera County animal shelter to the volunteer group so they could continue their efforts to reduce the unwanted animal populations.
According to FMAS founding member and treasurer Kay Rhoads, the group, in conjunction with animal services Director Kirsten Gross, has worked tirelessly for the past 14 years to increase local adoptions, provide free or low cost spay or neuter programs, shot clinics, Bay Area adoption events, and even drives surplus animals out of state to Washington and Oregon Humane Societies so that they can have a home.
“We’ve raised over 2.3 million dollars (ourselves) for spay and neutering. All of this goes to or is spent on the animals or the shelter in some kind of service. We also used an (additional) $1.5 million dollar donation from the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation in 2013 to spay or neuter over 18,000 animals (for local residents).” Rhoads said.
Rhoads thanked the supervisors for their confidence and said their ongoing financial support had made a world of difference to the group’s many operations. “It’s a wonderful program and as you probably already know 99 cents of every dollar goes for the animals. Every person in this operation, other than our two paid employees, is a volunteer and has been for the last 18 years. It’s all about the animals, but we couldn’t have done it without Kirsten Gross. We are 100 percent behind her,” she said.
Supervisor Brett Frazier said that with regard to animals, an ounce of prevention was definitely worth a pound of cure, and asked Rhoads if another $100,000 in additional funding from Madera County would allow the group to provide more spay and neutering services to area residents.
“Absolutely. We spend about $20,000 a month in spay and neutering services at local vets and also at The HOPE Foundation, so this $100,000 is only about five months of operations. And this is at our pre negotiated (discounted) prices. We are not running out of animals to spay or neuter, or animals to send to (other) rescues.”
Frazier said he was optimistic the additional funding could be found and provided to FMAS. He also said he would like to challenge the cities of Madera and Chowchilla to do the same.
Rhoads said it was a matter of “paying now, or paying later” to control animals, and went on to say that the population of unwanted animals in Madera would only increase exponentially without more affordable spay and neutering options, and or a local ordinance requiring the spay or neutering of all pets.
“We make two runs a month in our vans to Oregon Humane Society. They don’t have enough animals or even a surplus of any unwanted animals because they have ordinances requiring spay or neutering. This costs us $2,000 a trip with volunteer drivers driving 12 hours straight one-way. In the last two and a half years we have taken almost 3,000 animals from Madera County to Oregon,” to save those lives. Rhoads said.
The city of Madera does not participate in the financial operation of the local animal shelter but instead pays a per animal fee for each animal taken to the shelter. The city also does not currently contribute to the FMAS spay or neuter efforts provided for animals owned by city residents, leaving the volunteer group no choice but to discontinue their city efforts when their funding ran out last year.