Camano Island animal shelter’s money running out

CAMANO ISLAND — A calico cat sleeps atop a computer monitor. A litter of kittens nestle in their bedding. Puppies frolic in a nearby pen.

Amid the peacefulness of the Camano Animal Shelter, the only sign of trouble is the yellow reader-board outside, asking passersby to donate cat litter and dog food.

Camano Island’s only animal shelter is in danger of running out of money.

Shelter officials estimate the $11,000 in their bank account will last through June, at which point they will have to begin spending their reserve funds to make ends meet.

The shelter is expected to fall about $25,000 short of meeting this year’s $130,000 projected budget, and that accounts for $20,000 in anticipated fundraising revenue.

“We’re just thinking we’re going to make it,” shelter manager Lyn­ette Lawson said. “We’re staying really positive.”

The shelter, at the intersection of N. East Camano Drive and Can Ku Road, is staffed by two part-time managers and four part-time employees. Volunteers socialize with the animals and help with their medical inspections, while other volunteers wash and clean the building on a daily basis, keeping the shelter nearly free of animal odors.

At the moment, shelter officials are not considering shutting down.

However, if the shelter were to close, then the nearest available shelters for Camano Island residents would be far away on Whidbey Island.

In Snohomish County, which is closest, animals are taken to Everett Animal Shelter. But it does not generally accept any from outside the county. Skagit County shelters charge out-of-county fees. And the private, nonprofit Northwest Organization for Animal Help outside of Stanwood only accepts animals from shelters, not directly from people.

“I’m just hoping the public is aware of the great things that are going on, and they realize that we need support, and that eventually maybe we can get more (money) from the county,” shelter treasurer Martha Huyler said.

The shelter’s revenues have decreased while costs have increased for things such as supplies, medical treatment and staffing.

Last year, the Camano Animal Shelter Association increased staffing requirements at the shelter to make sure nobody is ever there alone. The shelter’s staff is budgeted to be paid a combined $76,000 this year.

Also, shelter officials are beginning to see more cats and kittens coming into the shelter. Of the 486 animals brought to the shelter in 2007, roughly 57 percent — more than 270 — were cats. The shelter pays $15 for each adult cat to be tested for feline leukemia. If kittens arrive without their mother, each kitten must be tested to protect other cats at the shelter.

The shelter is also treating more illnesses in cats and kittens, rather than euthanizing them. Vet bills almost double during the kitten season, between spring and summer, Lawson said.

Meanwhile, many longtime members have left the committee that’s in charge of organizing shelter fundraisers.

In addition to needing funding for this year, the shelter also needs money to get through early 2009.

Island County Commissioner John Dean, whose district includes Camano Island, said the county is unlikely to have much extra money to give to the shelter.

“It’s a hard one,” Dean said. “The animals are near and dear to everyone’s heart, but when you don’t have money, you spend it on people first or you spend it on animals first.”

The shelter might start limiting its hours in order to cut costs, but that would cut into profits gained when animals are adopted out, Huyler said.

She’s hoping someone, or several people, come forward to help.

“It’s a nice shelter, it’s nice to walk into,” Huyler said. “It’s serving a need that the county does not see.”

Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or spesznecker@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

The site of a new development along May Creek Road next to the entrance of Wallace Falls State Park on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 in Gold Bar, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Gold Bar considers home parking permits near Wallace Falls

In the past, parking spilled from Wallace Falls State Park into town. Decals could avoid conflicts.

Letter
Oak Harbor legal staff quits over ‘compromised’ relationships

The city attorney and the senior assistant city attorney, who is also the public records officer, both resigned.

Connie L. Bigelow at her store Miniatures & More in Edmonds on Tuesday. (Janice Podsada / The Herald)
Woman pleads guilty to wire fraud in Edmonds doll store fire

Connie Bigelow tried to collect insurance after setting fire to her business. Now she has to pay restitution.

The scene where police from a King County agency shot a man at the end of a car chase Monday afternoon in a Safeway parking lot in Snohomish on September, 27, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Police shoot murder suspect outside Safeway in Clearview

The driver allegedly reversed into an unmarked police vehicle. Officers opened fire. He’s expected to live.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office released this image of a possible suspect in a homicide at a gas station at 148th Street SW and Highway 99 near Lynnwood. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office) 20210926
Detectives investigate homicide at gas station near Lynnwood

One person was killed and a suspect was at large, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

Zach Graham stands in front of a newly restored Three Fingers Lookout. (Friends of Three Fingers Lookout)
Volunteers give makeover to precarious Three Fingers Lookout

Up high, with cliffs on all sides, the 90-year-old hut got much-needed new windows, shutters and paint.

Arlington son, 19, charged with slaying his father

Nicholi Melum had been yelling at his son, Garner, when he was killed.

Crews demolish the strip mall at 10th and Broadway, near the Washington State University Everett campus, on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 in Everett, Washington. Crews started tearing down a strip mall Monday on property that will soon expand Everett Community College’s footprint across Broadway. The Cascade Learning Resource Center project will total 65,000 square feet. It will expand the college’s tutoring resources as well as house the library, writing center and other academic support programs. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Demolition begins to make way for EvCC learning center

The 65,000-square-foot project will expand the college’s tutoring resources. It’s set to open in April 2023.

Marysville man shot in hand during apparent drug robbery

At least two suspects were being sought, and police are seeking surveillance video.

Most Read