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Colbert County Animal Shelter may run out of food

County and city officials said the shelter is in a funding crisis.

Posted: Jul 9, 2019 2:12 PM
Updated: Jul 9, 2019 4:18 PM

The Colbert County Animal Shelter may still lose some employees this week because the 'no kill shelter' is strapped for funds, but it could also run out of dog and cat food, too.

Animal Control Officer Anthony Wilbanks told WAAY 31 they have enough dog food to last the next five or six days.

"The cat food may last another week but without the donations, we will be out here struggling to buy it," said Wilbanks.

Wilbanks said the shelter runs on donations for vet bills and food for the animals. Those donations are dwindling.

"The economy is stressful on everyone. That's a big part of it," said Wilbanks.

The shelter is already strapped for cash because the cost of operating has exceeded what they bring in. It was a topic of debate last week with city and county leaders. 

The fact is the costs of operating the shelter are supposed to be split between the cities of Sheffield, Tuscumbia, Muscle Shoals and the County Commission. Funding from the cities and county has never increased, despite that the cost of operating over the years has.

"We've got people getting services that people aren't paying for it and that hurts," said Wilbanks. "If you've got 60% of the shelter with your animals and you're not paying 60% of the cost, how is that fair?"

People in the community like Melanie Orseske are trying to do what they can to help the shelter.

"The Colbert County Animal Shelter has been under-funded for years and that ultimately caught up with them and they are completely out of funds," said animal advocate, Melanie Orseske.

Orseske and others have organized a Dogtrot 5K and one-mile "fun run" to raise donations for the shelter and help get the much-needed animal food.

"Every single penny of that goes to the shelter. They have no delusions of grandeur about covering salaries and operating costs," said Orseske. "What they are talking about is covering costs for food. When the food runs out in six days, their main supplier is gone."

For those putting on the fundraiser, they are hoping to raise enough donations to keep the shelter afloat while city and county leaders come up with a permanent funding solution for the shelter.

The Dogtrot 5K will be held Saturday, July 13th at the TVA Nature Trails jogging trail. Sign in will start at 7:45 a.m. The 5K will start at 8:30, followed by the one-mile "fun run" at 9 a.m. It will cost $25 for the 5K and $20 for the one-mile "fun run." They are also asking people who are participating in the runs to bring dog and cat food or kitty litter.

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