City Proposes Increase for Humane Society, Funds for Spay/Neuter Program

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The Dickson City Council unanimously approved an amendment to its agreement with the Humane Society of Dickson County to increase the city’s annual allocation and proposes funds for a spay-neuter program in its new budget.

The fiscal year 2024/25 budget draft presented by Dickson Mayor Don L. Weiss Jr increases the city’s allocation to the Humane Society from $60,000 to $100,000 and adds $15,000 for a spay/neuter program.

Mayor Weiss presented the budget proposal at the Dickson City Council’s Finance and Management Committee meeting May 20. The council unanimously approved a resolution amending the Memorandum of Understanding to increase the allocation and approved the 2024-25 budget draft on first reading at its June 3 meeting.

“The Humane Society is better equipped to provide the needed care and adoption services and with the donations of citizens and corporate supporters like Tennsco and TriStar Bank provides a state-of-the-art facility for the animals until they find their forever homes,” Weiss said.

Under a three-year Memorandum of Understanding approved by the City Council and Humane Society’s board of directors in 2019, the nonprofit organization began providing housing and care for animals seized by the Dickson Police Department’s Animal Control officer. The city allocated $25,500 to the Humane Society for the service while the officer remained an employee of the police department.

The city agreed to increase its allocation to $35,000 in a 2021 amendment. The MOU was renewed for another three-year period in 2022 and the city increased its allocation to $60,000.

Wesson said even with increasing the allocation in the agreement with the Humane Society, it is still more cost-effective than the city trying to construct, staff and operate its own Animal Control facility.

“We still think this is a bargain. The staff, and I know the mayor, would prefer that we not be in the animal housing and management business. This works very well for us,” Wesson said.

Wesson said the city also proposes to allocate $15,000 to assist the Humane Society in providing a low-cost or free spay/neuter program for pet owners residing in the city limits.

“The best way to combat the growing problem of unwanted or abandoned pets is by making it easier for pet owners to spay or neuter their pets,” Wesson said. “The increase in pets turned in to June’s Pet Haven and Bark Park has pushed the Humane Society to capacity and created hardships for the organization. Despite these issues, the Humane Society has continued to honor its agreement with the City of Dickson by accepting animals brought in by their Animal Control officers.”

In the first four months of 2024, the Humane Society shelter took in 187 dogs and 199 cats, with 25.4 percent brought in by the city’s Animal Control officer, 51.3 percent by the county’s Animal Control officer and 23.3 percent in citizen surrenders.

During that same four-month period, the Humane Society facilitated adoptions for 109 dogs and 149 cats.

A “limited kill” shelter, the Humane Society of Dickson County makes every effort to find homes for animals as long as they have no medical or behavioral issues that would prevent their adoption. The Humane Society reports euthanizing three dogs for behavioral issues and six dogs and five cats for medical reasons since the start of 2024.

The City Council will conduct a public hearing and second and final vote on its FY2024/25 budget proposal at a special session June 17.

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