Volunteer effort rewarded

Published 9:33 am Thursday, April 9, 2009

WINTON – Since August of 2006, PAWS of Hertford County has saved the county thousands of dollars through their volunteer efforts as well as saving the lives of thousands of unwanted pets.

On Monday, those efforts were rewarded.

During a meeting of the Hertford County Board of Commissioners, a funding request made by PAWS (Protecting Animals Worth Saving) officials received favorable results.

The PAWS group – JoAnn Jones, Molly Eubank, Betty Liverman and Paul Liverman – laid out plans for their current project, one that came with a price tag of $12,795. Thanks to donations to the non-profit group plus their fund raising efforts, all but $5,195 of that amount was covered.

“We constantly are seeking ways to improve the facility,” Jones said, making reference to the old Hertford County Animal Shelter that has undergone a complete overhaul since the county permitted PAWS to use the shelter as their base of operations.

Jones told the commissioners that since 2006, PAWS had led an effort resulting in over 2,300 dogs and cats either being adopted through the shelter or transferred to other shelters for adoption. She said that fact alone had reduced animal euthanasia rates, a cost incurred by the county, by over 50 percent.

According to Jones, improvement projects to date at the shelter in addition the volunteer man-hours put in by PAWS has saved the county nearly $23,000. That’s not counting the tons of cat food and kitty litter donated to PAWS.

The organizations latest project is highlighted by renovating an existing storage barn for use as an area to house cats and kittens. Additionally, the project calls for a donated 10’x15’ building to be moved to the facility as well as adding a 25’x25’ concrete pad where four dog kennels will be placed.

The project also includes creating an outside exercise yard for the pets, painting the main shelter building and pouring slag around the shelter as well as in the driveway.

As far as their funding request from the county was concerned, Eubank said $5,195 was needed to purchase commercial grade pens for the cats/kittens.

“The ones we use right now are falling apart,” Eubank said.

Paul Liverman told the board to look at the cost as an investment.

“If these cats were not adopted out and had to be euthanized, it would cost the county over $6,700,” he noted.

Hertford County Manager Loria Williams reminded the board that the county was currently under a spending and hiring freeze. However, she praised the efforts of PAWS, saying the group has performed a lot of work at the shelter on their own.

“They have saved the county a lot of money,” Williams said. “If you do decide to fund their request, this is a way we can reward them for their efforts.”

Williams added there were available funds in the county’s Animal Control Budget to handle the request. Hertford County Animal Control Officer Charles Jones confirmed that fact, adding the funds were there partly due to the PAWS adoption program saving the county money in euthanasia costs.

“This group has given a lot to this county,” Jones said. “In my opinion, they are the best humane society east of Raleigh.”

Upon a motion by DuPont Davis and a second from William F. “Bill” Mitchell Jr., the commissioners approved the $5,195 funding request.