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As bingo money dries up, Animal Resource Center looking for resources - The Galveston County Daily News : Local News

November 27, 2014

Who’s paying for the shots? As bingo money dries up, Animal Resource Center looking for resources

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Posted: Sunday, August 17, 2014 12:07 am

TEXAS CITY — As the cities that fund the operations of the county’s Animal Resource Center hassle over the shelter’s spending plan, the debate often turns to how to generate more nontax revenue.

Resource center managers argue that creating a full-time volunteer and adoption coordinator position and making the crematory specialist a full-time job would generate additional funds. The extra money would come from more adoption fees and revenues generated from people wanting to have their deceased pets cremated.

But some on the advisory committee question the estimates of how much revenue those positions would generate. During the latest budget talks, some have questioned where money that once came from the Animal Alliance of Galveston County to pay for the $60,000 annual cost for vaccinations has gone.

When Dickinson City Administrator Julie Robinson questioned Sherlyn Linton, president of the alliance, about the money, Linton said her organization had shifted its focus. The fact that the alliance had decide to “go in another direction” with its funds it had regularly contributed to the Animal Resource Center was not new.

Shelter officials were informed last summer. Still, considering that Linton was one of those who pushed for the shelter to adopt a policy to vaccinate almost all animals on intake, some on the advisory committee found it odd that the financial support that was “assumed” to be there to cover those services was not.

Linton insists that “all progressive shelters” budget for vaccinations and don’t rely on outside income to cover those expenses.

That was discovered in 2013 when The Daily News reported that Animal Resource Center officials did not budget for — or really track — vaccinations. For the most part, when the shelter officials needed vaccination supplies, they called the Animal Alliance.

That changed when the alliance’s funds from a bingo hall dropped dramatically after expenses at the bingo operation — because of an emergency air conditioning replacement — soared.

The alliance has since 2008 used funds generated from Boot Kikkers Bingo Hall in La Marque to help fund its operations as well as support services at the Animal Resource Center. Through the first three months of this year, the alliance has taken in $667,969 from bingo since 2008, according to state and Animal Alliance records.

Between 2008 and 2011, the alliance averaged $117,000 a year.

Those funds have steadily decreased. In 2012 the alliance received $107,000 from Boot Kikkers. In 2013, that dropped to $66,519, records show.

As of 2013, the charitable distribution to the Animal Alliance and the four other charitable groups that receive funds from Boot Kikkers has dropped about 47 percent since 2010, according to state records.

Despite the loss in bingo dollars, the alliance’s support for the Animal Resource Center remains.

“We fund many programs that promote the live release of Galveston County Animal Resource Center animals,” Linton said. “This year we have spent around $34,000 in services directly related to the shelter.”

Funds are also used to help the shelter find homes for animals that otherwise would not be as adoptable.

For example, the alliance paid for the services of Texas City veterinarian Scott Johnson for six months to provide advanced medical care for animals at the shelter.

The alliance is using dollars from bingo funds to have microchips implanted for many of the animals that are adopted or those taken by rescue groups, Linton said.

There are $20 adoption incentives for black dogs and cats that have proved to be some of the most difficult to release via adoption.

The alliance is also providing funds to help cover the costs for spaying and neutering and microchips for the dogs the Animal Resource Center featured at the countywide Paws and Claws Adopt-A-Thon Saturday and today in League City.

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or tjaulds@galvnews.com.