By Emily Banks Wooten
The SPCA of Polk County (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) will hold a garage sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at its facility located at 802 S. Houston Ave. in Livingston.
Proceeds from the sale will help support the SPCA of Polk County, as well as community programs such as TNR (trap neuter release) and LISN (low income spay and neuter) that the local SPCA supports and operates.
The SPCA of Polk County is a no-kill animal shelter that serves the residents of Polk County and surrounding communities. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization operated primarily by volunteers and a few paid staff members. The SPCA of Polk County is not funded by ASPCA or other SPCA organizations, nor does it receive any city, county, state or federal funding. It relies solely on donations to continue its operations and offer lifesaving treatments and care for cats and dogs in and around the county.
“We were lucky enough to break even in 2021 for the first time in several years. This was due in large part to the cost-cutting measures across the board that we implemented,” SPCA Executive Director Ron Hornsby said. “In addition, we more effectively managed the animal population on-site to ensure the very best care is provided and to allow our team of dedicated volunteers and staff to better manage their ability to care, treat and improve the quality of the lives of the animals.”
Hornsby said 2020 saw record adoption numbers across the U.S. which were great for the animals and shelters and rescues across the country but that what transpired afterward was also unprecedented.
“There was a noticeable decline in adoptions for 2021, as well as a record number of animal returns from those returning to work or unable to care for the animals any longer. We also saw a drop in donations, even though we increased our marketing opportunities via television, radio, print and social media by 75% and held a number of events to help generate donations and support,” Hornsby said.
Without the cost-cutting measures, Hornsby said the SPCA of Polk County wouldn’t be here today.
“This is why we need your help,” he emphasized. “It costs to run a facility of our size, being the only nonprofit, no kill animal shelter in Polk County. We receive zero funding or support from the city, county or state. We are so reliant on your generosity and dependent on your support, that without it, we cannot survive and continue to improve countless lives and perform the function that we do.
“We receive countless animals needing special medical attention and without a veterinarian and equipment on site, we have to send them to those that can help and it costs. As amazing as our local veterinarians are and the countless hours they provide to us, it’s a financial burden that’s ever increasing,” Hornsby said.
“As part of our adoptions, all animals are vaccinated, microchipped, spayed or neutered, de-wormed and de-fleaed before any special medical treatment or care is taken into account, meaning each animal can cost $90-plus before medical expenses,” Hornsby said, adding, “Medical expenses per animal can cost hundreds of dollars.
“Please consider helping us with our medical care at the SPCA of Polk County. Your donations will help support specialized medical care and treatments. You many donate by texting MEDS to 44321,” he said.
The SPCA occasionally holds “Wish List Events” at local grocery stores. Shoppers heading into the store may pick up a list of items needed by the shelter, pick up a few of the items while doing their shopping and leave them with the volunteer on the way out of the store.
The wish list is broken down by dogs, cats, cleaning needs and general needs. Items needed for dogs include: Purina dog chow, Purina puppy dry food, Pedigree canned food for adults and puppies, puppy toys, puppy pads and collars of all sizes. Items needed for cats include: 9 Lives dry cat food, Purina kitten chow in the yellow bag and canned food for adults and kittens. Cleaning items needed include bleach, laundry detergent and paper towels (select-a-size). General needs include bottled water, 8 ½ x 11 copy paper, trash bags (13 or 30 gal or larger) and toilet paper.
Hornsby said the SPCA of Polk County was established as a non-profit in 1978 and was in a small building, as a foster-based organization. The organization expanded and purchased its current location at 802 S. Houston eight years ago, where it holds 33 kennels and 12 cat condos. The facility can house over 100 animals at any given time and has housed over 100 dogs on site in the past.
A review of the shelter’s statistics from January 2020 to January 2022, reflects 2,255 adoptions overall, of which 1,742 were dog adoptions and 513 were cat adoptions. It also reflects 1,543 animals were transferred and that a total of 3,798 animals have found forever homes since Jan 2020.
Hornsby said puppies have accounted for over 50% of all adoptions since 2019 and that adult dog adoptions have decreased 35% since 2019. He said that 2020 was unprecedented for adoption numbers, but that 2021 and 2022 are seeing a return to pre-COVID adoption numbers. He said dog adoptions have decreased and are continuing to fall, but that cat adoptions are up, due to various pictures and promotions.
Hornsby said it takes about $23,000 per month to operate the facility which doesn’t include medical costs which are about $8,000 per month. He said about $22,000 per month is brought in but that donations have decreased and adoption income has decreased.
Donations may be made to the to the SPCA of Polk County by visiting www.spcapolk.org, by texting spcapolk to 44321, by donating supplies to the shelter at 802 S. Houston in Livingston or by making purchases from their wish lists at wishlist by amazon or chewy.com. For additional information call (936)755-3020 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.