Animal Shelter May Get More Help

New shelter manager has made great strides.

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It appears a request for help by the Harnett County Animal Shelter will be granted, a request initially denied when the 2018-19 fiscal year budget was approved earlier this spring.

During their work session this week, commissioners were given details of a proposed increase in the number of full-time positions at the Harnett County Animal Shelter by General Services Director Barry Blevins. He credited Eileen Beeson, shelter manager, adoption and rescue coordinator, with a successful turnaround of the facility. He said under her efforts there has been a complete change of culture, but help is desperately needed.

“I’ve never seen so many people happy to work in the shelter,” Mr. Blevins said. “They’re working themselves to death, they have so much to do.”

Animal Services has been subdivided into two divisions, animal control, which is responsible for animal welfare, tracking down loose animals and rabies control, and the shelter, which its main task is to move the animals to permanent homes.

“Although the animal control staff help out when possible, we’re having a hard time maintaining comp-time payout for example,” he said. “Staff working overtime and probably some not getting reported to be honest and that’s not right.”

He said the shelter staff is responsible for intake when an animal arrives — not only cats and dogs, but livestock such as pigs and chickens — then they have to weigh the animal, feed and water and at the same time evaluate the animals for suitability for adoption as well as coordinate with rescues and the public during adoption hours, which also includes Saturday.

“The change in the shelter and how we operate, it’s been a plus positive,” he said. “We don’t want to go backwards. We’re doing great things down there and we’re thinking this position will help us stay moving forward.”

Currently, the shelter employs two full-time and two part-time employees. Mr. Blevins said if approved, one of the part-time positions would be converted to full-time at a cost of about an additional $7,100 to the current budget for the shelter.

As a side note to commissioners, Mr. Blevins offered a few numbers in support of the requested position. He said under Ms. Beeson’s guidance the shelter has lowered from 27 to 24 percent the number of animals euthanized and has taken in over 1,500 animals in the first six months of 2018.

“That’s a lot in six months,” he said.

He went on to say the average length of stay in the shelter for an animal is 6.5 days and the average amount of hands-on services provided to the animals by shelter staff reaches as high as 335 times a day and the shelter has received approximately $22,000 in donations so far in 2018.

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