Tight funds close animal shelters & an MSPCA clinic

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  October 2011:

BOSTON,  Indianapolis,  Iqaluit
–With annual income of more than $40 million,  assets of more than $62 million,  and a chief executive salary of $476,000,  the Massachusetts SPCA is a long way from Putnam County,  Indiana,  where the Putnam County Humane Society closed because of a $30,000 deficit;  Boynton Beach,  Florida,  where the last city shelter in Palm Beach County closed to save $19,356; and Iqaluit,  Nunavut,  Canada,  where the only shelter serving the region was unable to stay open on an annual budget of just $50,000.

But,  downsizing for the third time in seven years due to continuing investment losses,  the MSPCA on October 4,  2011 announced that it will close the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital branch clinic in Nantucket at the end of the year.  “Based on the number of animals seen and treated at the facility, versus the amount of money the organization has spent to maintain the building and staff,  it’s clear that the right decision for the organization is to close the hospital,”  MSPCA president Carter Luke told Boston Globe correspondent Amanda Cedrone.  The MSPCA will continue to operate Angell Memorial clinics in Boston,  Barnstable,  and Methuen.

The MSPCA in 2009 quit operating shelters in Brockton, Martha’s Vineyard, and Springfield,  which had together handled more than 11,000 animals per year.  The Springfield shelter was sold to the Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society for $1.2 million. The former Martha’s Vinyard shelter was leased to a new charity called Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vinyard. The former Metro South adoption center was leased to the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts.

The Putnam County Humane Society shelter closed on September 30,  2011.  Board members and volunteers expressed hope of eventually reopening,  but anticipated at least a year of work just to pay down the debt.  Operating costs were about $100,000 per year.

The Boynton Beach Animal Control shelter closed on August 1, 2011,  two years after the Delray Beach shelter,  leaving the Palm Beach County Animal Care & Control shelter as the only animal control facility in the county of 1.3 million people.

The Iqaluit Humane Society shelter closed on August 9,  2011, due to lack of funding to hire staff and insufficient volunteer help to maintain regular hours.   The closure came one day after Quebec prime minister Jean Charest and Quebec native affairs minister Geoff Kelley visited to deliver an apology and a settlement of $3 million for claims resulting from massacres of sled dogs conducted by the Quebec and Canadian federal governments between 1950 and 1970.  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported to the federal government in 2006 that the dog killings were necessary to control rabies.

The dog killings forced the Inuit into  dependence upon government aid.  A less recognized effect was that the relatively docile Malamutes traditionally used by Inuit mushers were replaced by huskies.  As huskies,  unlike Malamutes,  would run off if left untethered,  the previously unheard of practice of keeping dogs chained spread into Inuit territory.  Since the advent of chaining, fatal attacks on humans by non-rabid dogs,  once extremely rare in the Far North,  have occurred at the rate of about one every other year.

Retired Quebec judge Jean-Jacques Croteau reccommeded in 2010 that compensation for the dog killings should be used “to promote Inuit art, culture and language as well to organize dog team races, such as the annual Ivakkak race, which Makivik launched in 2001,” reported Sarah Rogers of The Nunatsiaq News.

Musher Allen Gordon of Kuujjuaq told Rogers of The Nunatsiaq News that at least some of the money should be used instead to provide humane services,  including vaccinations and dog sterilization.

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