Animal shelter levy to be decided on in November

By Sarah Hawley -

MEIGS COUNTY — The Meigs County Humane Society, in partnership with the Meigs County Commissioners, is seeking a 1 mill tax levy which would benefit the Meigs County K9 Adoption and Rescue Center and a proposed feline shelter for the county.

The levy would provide the funding for the construction of the feline shelter adjacent to the current canine shelter, which would be able to house cats, as well as conduct adoptions similar to that of the canine shelter.

John Musser and Dixie Sayre, who volunteer with the Humane Society, explained that the idea for the levy came after the humane society was awarded 50 cats by the court earlier in the summer. Musser and Sayre spoke with Commissioner Randy Smith about the matter and finding the way to care for those animals. Smith asked if they had considered a levy which could provide the funding for a shelter.

The following day Musser and Sayre submitted a letter to the commissioners with the levy request and met with them later that week. The commissioners took the required steps, submitting the levy request to the auditor and ultimately to the Board of Elections for placement on the ballot.

The levy would be a 1 mill levy, which according to figures from the Meigs County Auditor’s Office would cost the average homeowner in the county (average home value is $87,400) $2.58 per month.

The ballot language for the levy reads,

An additional tax for the benefit of Meigs County for the purpose of partnering with the humane society for the expansion of the K9 center to include feline and a rate not exceeding one mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to ten center for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for 5 years, commending in 2019, first due in calendar year 2020.

Musser said that the levy would provide a start for fixing the current feline issue in several parts of the county.

“We can’t solve it overnight, but this is a start,” said Musser.

The levy and cat shelter could be a long term solution to help with the issue.

The Meigs County Humane Society currently has a low cost spay and neuter program for low income families, providing 182 vouchers during one year.

The spay and neuter program could be expanded with the shelter in order to help control the cat population in the county.

Sayre explained that unspayed cats can quickly multiply, going from one cat with four kittens to 16 cats/kittens in a 12 month span and continuing to multiply in large numbers each year.

In the past, a mobile unit has been brought in to locations in the county for a spay and neuter clinic, but it is difficult without a permanent location for the clinics to be held. The shelter would also open up the possibility to partner with a local veterinarian or even university veterinary school to provide spay and neuter and other services, said Sayre.

The levy would not only be used for the feline part of the shelter, but would provide funding for the canine shelter as well.

Currently, explained Smith, the canine shelter is funded through the sale of dog tags as is established by the state, but those funds are not enough to completely fund the shelter. By around August each year, the dog tag funds run out with the county supplementing the shelter through county general funds for the remainder of the year.

Smith, Musser and Sayre all noted that the support of the local residents for the canine shelter has been tremendous, with donations of food and many other items brought into the shelter on a regular basis.

“The dog shelter has been a tremendous success,” said Smith. “We have attempted to show the county that we are good partners with the canine shelter and hope to be able to do the same with the feline shelter.”

Musser and Sayre have visited other shelters and plan to visit others to see what design could work best for a cat shelter should the levy pass. They are also looking into grant funding for which the levy funds would serve as a match in order to help keep the cost of construction at a minimum.

For more information on the animal shelter levy visit “Meigs County Animal Shelter Levy” on Facebook or contact the Meigs County Humane Society.

By Sarah Hawley