“We are still here,” Gloria Higginbottom of the Humane Society of the Delta informed the Helena-West Helena City Council during an update of the progress of the non-profit organization at Tuesday night's council meeting.
Higginbottom revealed that HSD has found almost 500 homes for the animals that have been picked up during the past year.
“I know a lot of you have called and complained about the animal problems within the district,” commented Higginbottom as she reassured the council that HSD is doing the best it can with little to no funding.
Higginbottom reports that the HSD currently houses about 100 animals with a staff of about 7 people. She added that they are currently looking for volunteers and donations or funding.
“A lot of people think that we get funding from such groups as American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or other organizations like that because it's basically the responsibility of the local county government,” said Higginbottom.
“We are just hanging in there,” Higginbottom added.
Councilman Joe St. Columbia asked just how overwhelming the animal problem is now in Phillips County.
“The animal population is horrific,” exclaimed Higginbottom. “We do four spay and neuter clinics a year and have touched over 4,000 lives of these animals within this community and there has been somewhat of a decline in animal numbers.”
According to Higginbottom, it will take about 5 to 6 years before a significant amount of progress can be fulfilled.
Higginbottom reported that the HSD has some paid employees and they are required to know how to properly handle and take care of the animals in the facility.
“The only income we have is based on donations and some fund raising but we are short staffed and are struggling to get those kind of things running,” commented Higginbottom.
Before closing, Higginbottom encouraged members of the council and the community to understand that the HSD is a community service and this represents how the community takes care of itself.
“When we can change the way other people look at our community that's when more change will begin,” she said. “The community really needs to help provide the love and compassion to get this kind of job done.”