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Setting the record straight on meeting
Public Forum.jpg

Dear editor, 

I am the president of the board of the Pawnee County Humane Society and was present at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting which was reported on in your paper. There were several areas in the article that we feel do not accurately represent what was said and would like a chance to set the record straight. 

The city of Larned does not provide us with any pet food as reported in the article. All our pet food comes mostly from donations, although we do purchase small amounts from time to time. Nor do they cover any of the intake costs for incoming animals. Also, we do not have volunteers presently writing grants for us, although we have had some in the past who wrote some successful grants for us.

It was implied by one of the city council members that our one paid staff person, the shelter manager, could spend more time writing grants. The board made the decision to hire a full-time shelter manager because ensuring the welfare of the animals and the proper running of the shelter is a full-time job. Two of the job’s main duties are supervising the DOC inmates who provide weekday animal care and ensuring the welfare of the animals at the shelter. New inmates have to be trained in their duties, and the manager needs to make sure they are properly caring for the animals. The shelter manager often has to fill in when an inmate is unable to come in, or even provide animal care for several days to a week or two at a time when DOC is unable to provide the requisite number of inmates needed at the shelter.

Animal care involves initial medical work for new animals such as administering vaccines and deworming treatments, inserting microchips, and drawing blood for required tests, like heartworm testing for dogs and feline aids/leukemia testing for cats. The manager also has to maintain vaccine boosters for current animals as required, administer medicine for those animals that need it, as well as transport animals to and from the local veterinarian offices. As part of ensuring animal health, the manager frequently checks on the dogs and cats throughout the day to make sure there are no health issues that need attending to.

Besides caring for the animals and supervising the inmates, there are phone calls and email inquiries to answer, as well record keeping and paperwork to be maintained. This is especially important in the area of documenting the health of the animals as these things are required by Kansas state law. 

Although not required by the job description, the current shelter manager has taken it upon herself to write grants and was recently successful in getting two grants. However, she does have to squeeze this task into all the other duties she carries out during her busy days at the shelter and has even done some of the grant writing on her own time in the evenings and on the weekend.

Celeste Dixon