CANYON COUNTY -- Starting on October 1, the Canyon County Animal Shelter will no longer accept drop-off stray cats, or have cats available for adoption. The announcement was made Wednesday, after the Shelter's budget was cut by 21 percent, a total of $248,000.
"Oh, this was huge," said Lt. Bill Adams with the Canyon County Sheriffs Office, who is also the director of the shelter. "I haven't seen this type of a budget cut, since I've been here. I'm still kind of wondering how we're going to get through this, because this is really just the tip of the iceberg. Because we're not even into that fiscal year yet, and it's going to take some managing to keep that budget working."
"We had to look at those programs that are not mandated by the state. And, the animal shelter is one of those," said Kathy Alder, a Canyon County Commissioner who helped set the budget. "They felt they could work with a $900,000 budget."
Adams says in order to work with that budget they had no choice but to cut two positions and eliminate most cat services. The only service they will offer regarding cats is owner-requested euthanasia for a $20.00 fee.
"If you come in at kitten season, it's not usual to see several hundred cats in here, including litters, and what we have out in foster," said Adams.
Adams also says starting in October they will try to find a home for absolutely every single cat in this shelter. But as for the cats that would have come to the shelter after Oct. 1, that burden now shifts to the Canyon County community and other community shelters.
"If they're not coming here, they're going to go somewhere. If they're not going to other shelters, odds are they're going to be just out on the street," said Adams.
"We're just going to have to watch and see how this goes, give them an opportunity with their budget, see what they can do with the budget, and see how it comes out," said Alder.
No dog services will be affected by the budget cuts. But both Alder and Adams agree that dog owners can help the shelter's income by licensing their dogs. Alder says in the past only about 6 percent of Canyon County's dogs have been licensed.
Canyon County commissioners are also considering privatizing the shelter. Alder says they will decide that in the next few days.