Visitors enjoy the festivities during the August 2014 grand opening event at the Bark Plaza Pet Hotel.

To the editor:

The board of directors for The Animal Shelter of Texas County (TASTC) has reorganized and has welcomed some new members to support its mission. The new board is eager to do the work of exercising control, participating in various fundraisers and accepting professional advice, but the amount of funds necessary to continue are extreme. Due to prior expenditures combined with present and future costs, TASTC is in a very serious financial crisis.

One avenue to save money is to become a kill shelter, but we refuse to operate under that philosophy. TASTC has been a no-kill facility for the past 10 years and is the only operating no kill shelter/pound in a vast area of south-central Missouri. Being a no-kill shelter involves a higher financial responsibility than a kill shelter. Animals who are physically abused or injured are given medical treatment and not simply put to death. It is a very rare occasion that the vet informs TASTC that an animal has passed the point of treatment.

Due to the high cost of providing medical care for the animals, TASTC has already been forced to limit not only the amount of animals we take in, but the condition of the animals also has to be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, TASTC can no longer afford to finance the medical miracles as in the past. If a wounded animal is brought in with a chance of survival, we try to find a rescue program best suited to its needs.

Bark Plaza Pet Hotel was built to support the daily operations of the animal shelter. All boarding fees are directly applied to the operating expenses of the shelter. During the summer months, the pet hotel is a very busy place, as there is a greater need for boarding animals at that time of the year. During the cold weather of the off-season, we have less guests at the pet hotel, resulting in an inability to pay our urgent daily bills.

At both facilities, all expenses have been cut to a minimum. Nothing extra or special is purchased, but the animals’ needs are always met.

The adopters and pet owners doing business with TASTC and Bark Plaza most often includes the southern half of Missouri, but not always. A gentleman recently brought in his beloved dog to be adopted through TASTC. He had traveled over 150 miles because he knew not only the excellent care that his dog would receive, but also the reputation which TASTC has in finding quality adoptive homes. The dog would not be euthanized because of its advanced years, as it probably would in a kill shelter. The man brought his senior dog to TASTC because he was soon to be moving into a nursing home and had been unable to find a suitable home for his “boy.” Of all the other facilities, he chose TASTC for his precious companion and left a donation for his gratitude. His dog was later adopted into a loving home.

Many of our dogs and cats have been adopted by people living in neighboring states. Only about 10 percent are adopted by Houston residents and approximately 40 percent are adopted by residents of outlying areas of Texas County. The remaining 50 percent are adopted by people outside of Texas County. TASTC fills a large void that may be empty again, and we are asking for your help.

Due to the severity of our financial situation, we are being forced to make some very difficult decisions. It is with heavy hearts that we have decided to close Bark Plaza Pet Hotel at the first of the year, thereby reducing our operating expenses, such as payroll and utilities. This is being done in an attempt to save the animal shelter from closing as well. It is our sincere hope that we will receive financial support from the community and we will be able to get back on our feet again in very much the same way that we as volunteers, staff and board members have helped thousands of animals get back on their feet when they needed help the most. Our passion to help the animals is not merely what we do, it is who we are.

Please show your support by making a tax-deductible donation. Checks can be mailed to TASTC, P.O. Box 228, Houston, Mo., 65483, or a charitable donation can be made by visiting TASTC’s Facebook page or website at www.tastc.com and clicking on the donate button. The fate of many homeless animals is in our hands!

Respectfully,

TASTC BOARD OF DIRECTORS

(Vicki Lucky-Powell, Debbi Lemon,

Dorothy Ogden, Jan Squire,

Shayla Black, Erikke Nielsen)

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