Humane Society nearly closes its doors in Harlingen, rescued by city

The Humane Society of Harlingen has been rescued from financial ruin, giving hope to not only dogs and cats but also people who want to see the shelter turnaround.

Harlingen city commissioners voted on Monday to give the Humane Society an additional $25,000 for the current contract year and a $25,000 increase for the next contract year which begins in October.

Shelter leaders says it may not be enough.

"This is the 4th quarter, Pat Turman-White, the shelter's board president said. "We've thrown our Hail Mary pass."

She blames the sluggish economy for lackluster public fundraising, donations and adoption sales which accounts for nearly 70 percent of the budget.

"Tuesday night I informed the city that they would be getting the shelter back in a few days," Turman-White said. "We transferred all of our money to make payroll on Wednesday."

Mayor Chris Boswell says the city found additional funding to increase the contract amount to the shelter, which also provides important services like spay and neuter clinics, along with prevention and educational programs aimed at controlling the animal population.

"I would say that any department would be happy to get a 25 percent increase in its funding," the mayor said. "And if you consider the shelter a department then they got a bigger increase than anyone else."

Boswell is calling for voluntary support of the shelter from the community.

Turman-White believes the shelter's services impact everyone.

"You don TMt have to love an animal but you're part of this community and this is a service we're providing the community," she explained.

It TMs a community-free of some 10,000 stray and unwanted animals every year with the help of the Humane Society's work.

The shelter plans to increase revenue by taking in animals from other cities.

An anonymous donor has offered to make a matching donation of up to $50,000, according to Turman-White; however, the shelter will likely only receive half that amount with the city's $25,000 boost in funding.