By GRETCHEN MURRAY Special to the Record-Eagle
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — The kitty is running low at the Cherryland Humane Society, and staff members are looking at ways to tighten the budget and seeking donations to help meet rising expenses.
“People in the Grand Traverse area always have been generous in supporting the humane society, particularly when we needed the new building,” said Dr. David Burke, a local veterinarian and president of the local humane society’s board of directors. “But meeting the monthly mortgage payment is becoming more difficult as our operating costs continue to rise.”
He estimates the facility is operating with a $350 daily deficit.
A financial plan was in place to cover mortgage costs before the building opened in 2002 at its present location on Ahlberg Road, but the economic downturn undermined some donors’ commitment, Burke said.
Mortgage obligations are being met, but decisions have to be made on how to juggle the utilities, pet food, maintenance and repairs costs. An April agreement between Cherryland and Grand Traverse County’s Animal Control Division to care for strays netted by animal control officers is providing an additional $2,300 a month in revenue, but officials are finding the program is more self-sustaining than a boost to the bottom line.
Caring for animals is an expensive endeavor, said Mike Cherry, Cherryland’s executive director.
“The animals are housed in rooms that have independent air flow to control airborne viruses. That needs to be maintained,” Cherry said. “The first three hours of each day are spent cleaning and disinfecting the floors, walls and outside runs, and the animal exam room has to be absolutely sterile.
“We need to keep overflow areas and a place to isolate sick animals clean, but the costs of general cleaning and equipment are going up. Along with increasing maintenance costs and utilities, the cost of administering initial immunizations for cats and dogs and food have gone up, too.”
Cherry said the organization is reluctant to raise adoption fees and is thankful for volunteers who help clean, walk dogs and raise funds.
“Every bit helps, and volunteers play a big part in helping make up our deficit,” he said. “We know that a number of groups come forward to help financially every year, and we receive a large percentage of our funding during the holidays, but we still depend on individual donations. If all that is successful, we should be fine.”
To learn more about helping Cherryland Humane Society, call Cherry at 231-946-5116.