County’s support of ACARF a step in the right direction

Allen County's animal shelter is perpetually short on funds. Commissioners' decision to allot it $24,000 is appreciated — and sorely needed



July 3, 2024 - 3:21 PM

On June 28, Iola merchants gave ACARF $1,120 through a fundraising effort for the animal shelter. From left, are Toni Manbeck of Audacious Boutique, Julie Payne of ACARF, Brandon Bell of Jock’s Nitch, Dawn Murray of ACARF, Robin Schallie of the Iola Area Chamber, Jessica Oswald of Capper Jewelry, Angie Rourk of Clock Tower Mercantile, Brittni Dilley of ACARF and Misti Kendrick of The Protein Place. Register file photo

In determining their annual budget, Allen County Commissioners Tuesday approved $24,000 for the local animal shelter by using funds received from the Prairie Queen Wind Farm. 

Not only that, but commissioners said they would look to fund the no-kill shelter on a permanent basis.

Without a doubt, it’s needed.

Ever since the Allen County Animal Rescue Facility opened in 2010, its struggled to make ends meet, spending valuable time hosting fundraisers, seeking donations and bequests, and seeing what else they can do without.

The efforts always fall short of the needs.

“We find ourselves in the unfortunate situation of experiencing a shortfall most months,” ACARF president Dawn Murray told commissioners last month. For 2023, ACARF’s expenses totaled more than $260,000 while its revenues were just shy of $190,000.

It used to be common practice for people to abandon litters of puppies along the roadside or at unfortunate farmsteads. Woe the farmer left the responsibility to determine their fate. 

A resident of Carlyle, Murray said the railroad’s “twin trestles” were a common drop-off site. 

In area towns, many took their unwanted or abandoned animals to their police departments, which had varying policies of how long they would pay for their care. None sufficient.

But when ACARF opened its doors, the scene changed dramatically. The abandoned cats and dogs were not only housed, but also fed, groomed and given the vaccines and medicines necessary to their health. 

From there, the facility developed an attractive website where they promote the pets for adoption. 

Today, the shelter either finds homes or other shelters for hundreds of pets each year.

Of course, all these good deeds require funds. 

For 2023, the shelter spent almost $40,000 for veterinary services and another $8,000 for medications, vaccines and microchips. 

The shelter’s balance sheet fluctuates greatly from year to year.

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