Sacrifices of Operating Small Illinois Animal Shelters


For these felines, the Crawford County Humane Society in Robinson, Illinois, is the is the cat’s meow.

Debbie Dix is the shelter’s director.

She says the facility has more cats than dog and caring for them all requires nine to 12 hour days.

That’s why Bill Mills, and other volunteers, are a necessity.

Dix says volunteers allow shelter workers to devote more time to cleaning kennels and handling administrative and operational duties.

But, Dix says one of the toughest jobs here is increasing cat adoptions.

This section of the shelter has a comfortable, home-like feel, which is important, because for many of these pets, especially the cats, this is their forever home.

And now, those cats can stay cozy here, thanks to a recent addition.

We went out on a limb and built this a few years ago,” says Debbie Dix, director of the Crawford County Humane Society.

The building is for felines who are already fixed and have their shots.

Plus, it has heating and A/C.

But this building, and all other care, comes at a big cost.

Debbie Dix, Dir. Crawford Co. Humane Society:  “It takes, literally, probably, $100,000 to run this facility a year,” says Dix.

Manages say the annual cost to operate the Humane Society of Olney is about $21,000.

Although it’s smaller than the Crawford County Humane society, the shelter’s president says the commitment to the pets is life-long.

“If I’ve got them and they don’t get adopted, what’s the answer?  Because, I’m not going to kill one because nobody else wants it,” says Dale Smith, president of the Humane Society of Olney.

In fact, several pets, like Noodles, have been here for years.

“She’s just got little stubs and she can outrun me at times,” Smith says.
With long hours and little-or-no pay, these small shelter managers are passionate about caring for unwanted animals.

Dale Smith:  “Most of them that came through, haven’t had a good life.    We just try to do what’s best for the animals.  That’s just… that’s my most important thing,” Smith explains.
Meanwhile, officials at the shelter in Robinson gave a similar answer.

“You come to work because you love them… and that’s the whole thing.  You love them,” adds Debbie Dix.

Unfortunately, “love” doesn’t pay the bills.

Neither shelter receives state, county or city funding.

They do, however, get private donations and generate money through fundraising.

So, both manager say the best way you can help them and other small shelters, is to provide pets with a fur-ever home.

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