HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Humane Society of Harlingen’s funding gap could grow even wider if the city of Harlingen’s proposed budget does not include more money for the cash-strapped facility.
Annual funding for the animal shelter is currently set at $287,000. According to Executive Director Luis Quintanilla, the facility needs over $1 million to function.
“My job is to raise that other $700,000 that it takes to run the place,” Quintanilla said.
On average, the cost of animal care is $263. The city covered $71.
Quintanilla predicts if the city does not vote to increase funding, the shelter’s no-kill status could be in jeopardy.
“The only animals that we euthanize and we still euthanize here is the true meaning of the word, it’s mercy,” Quintanilla said.
The facility is not immune to the rising costs of inflation.
In a desperate move to motivate the community they serve to call their district commissioners, Quintanilla shared the costs, funding gap, and direct contact information for elected officials in a Facebook Livestream.
CBS 4 Investigates reached out to each city commissioner, including Mayor Norma Sepulveda. The mayor did not respond to a request for an interview.
“I support an increase in funds for the Harlingen Humane Society. I’m very proud of the work they are doing and have worked with them in the past to revamp the city ordinances that pertain to our furry friends,” District 5 Harlingen City Commissioner Rene Perez said.
District 1 Harlingen City Commissioner Ford Kinsley responded regarding the shelter’s need for funds.
“I realize that they would like a higher number and I am willing to consider an additional increase within reason. Their mission, as well as many other departments, is very important. I think an incremental increase is also worth consideration,” Kinsley said.
The Humane Society has spoken to the city to increase annual funding from $287,000 to $400,000. On Wednesday night, the city commission approved the first reading of the new budget and it included an increase in funding for the shelter of $113,000.
The new amount is not finalized until commissioners formally approved the budget, which must to completed by Oct. 1