SPCA Loses Program to Funds

Reporter: Heather Rosenbaum | Videographer: RJ Burnette

Martinsville, VA - The Martinsville-Henry County SPCA had a program with the county pound to increase the hours and therefore increase the adoption rate. But they have run out of funding, so they need $150,000 or a lot of animals will end up being euthanized.

They've asked the Board of Supervisors for half of that money.

The problem was the pound was only open for an hour and a half five days a week. So the SPCA lent an employee to keep it open for hours more each day. It made a difference because prior to that they only adopted about 10 animals a year.

When the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA joined efforts with the Henry County pound two years ago, they had no idea just how successful it would be.

"Just having a person there to facilitate the adoptions increased their adoptions by almost 500 a year," said Leslie Hervey, executive director of Martinsville-Henry County SPCA.

But that success rate came at a price - $250 per adopted animal for all the medical care plus the cost of staffing.

"Very very successful program. It was a wonderful thing," said Hervey.

May 1 will mark the two-year expiration date of the program, so the SPCA turned to the Henry County Board of Supervisors to provide funding to continue it.

Board members denied it for now asking the SPCA to request again in June, closer to the end of their fiscal year.

"We've all shed a lot of tears over the last 24, 36 hours. I think we are all very disappointed because we feel like it was so important," said Hervey.

Deputy County Administrator Tim Hall says they provide the SPCA with about $17,000 a year but they simply don't have it in the budget quite yet.

"If we take $1 away from the left hand, the right hand has to provide that dollar. And sometimes that's a difficult decision," said Hall.

"It's a hard thing to think about. Hard thing to think about leaving the animals over there, and the fact that they won't make it out alive now," said Hervey.

The SPCA says they have already ended their staffing to the pound, that employee will work at the SPCA. They say they're determined and will keep asking for the money.