Kaua‘i Humane Society doesn’t ask for budget increase

LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i Humane Society officials on Monday requested the same budget they operated with in the 2012 fiscal year for the 2013 fiscal year.

Kaua‘i Humane Society Executive Director Shannon Blizzard and Laura Riley, who volunteers with the nonprofit organization, requested $595,000 for animal care and control services and $65,000 for its spay and neuter program.

Blizzard, who became executive director in July, said she wants to wait until she’s worked in the position for a year before asking for a funding increase.

If the county approves the funding, KHS projects it will end the 2013 fiscal year with an operational loss of $333,200.

KHS has an overall operating budget of $2.2 million, according to KHS officials, which is supplemented by donations, fundraisers, grants and  fees.

Among the topics discussed during the two-hour meeting were the expectations between KHS and the county.

Councilman Mel Rapozo said the county’s contract with KHS “only requires that the county fund the Humane Society for the seizure and impoundment of unlicensed dogs.”

Rapozo said  having KHS funded with taxpayer money might cause a “disconnect” if a citizen is ordered to euthanize an injured chicken or unable to find assistance when there are loose dogs on the beach.

Blizzard said that because KHS is a nonprofit, mission-based organization and not a county department, she “would like to work with the council in updating our contract and expectations that we have for each other.”

The current contract has not been revised in 10 years, Blizzard said.

The contract with the county also states KHS can’t charge for spaying or neutering services, which has been the basis of a grant denial, Blizzard said.

Public testimony from three community members raised concerns about the feral cat population.

“We need to bring in groups who focus on this particular work, this feral cat work and recognize that the Humane Society … is really focused on the spay and neuter portion, not the trapping and returning or managing of those (feral cat) colonies,” Blizzard said.

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