Canyon County Animal Shelter board will discuss layoffs at meeting today

August 6, 2013 

Two-thirds of the Canyon County Animal Shelter's $900,000 operating budget comes from private donations and shelter fees. Donations have been down about 30 percent since this past spring, so the board is considering layoffs, shelter director Barb Hutchinson said Tuesday.

Hutchinson, who spoke to her staff yesterday about possible layoffs, said the shelter's financial situation is not dire. The board just wants to be sure the Caldwell-based animal shelter doesn't get into a position where it can't meet payroll, as happened recently at the nonprofit Valley Crisis Center in Nampa. Ten members of the crisis center's staff walked out 10 days after they failed to receive their paychecks; they all filed wage claims with the state.

"That should be a wake-up call to all nonprofits," Hutchinson said of the crisis center. "We need to be sure that doesn't happen to us."

The board will discuss layoffs at a meeting this afternoon.

The shelter staff has grown over the past two years to 25 employees, about two-thirds of whom are full-time employees.

The shelter receives money from three local municipalities: $65,000 from the City of Caldwell, $65,000 from the City of Nampa and $300,000 from Canyon County.

Hutchinson said the shelter has received some recent bequests through wills but it can take significant time for estates to be settled. She hopes the belt-tightening the shelter is going through won't affect the roll that it's been on in increasing adoptions over the past year.

The shelter took second place in the 2012 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.The shelter won a total of $57,000 during the contest. The shelter is participating in the contest again this year and took first place in June in its division, winning $5,000.

The Canyon County Animal Shelter has a four-member board. They are: Chris Yamamoto, Canyon County clerk; Lorinda Norton, farmer; Jeannie Watanabe, retired state worker; Sherry Homan, owner of Holman Transportation Services.

Katy Moeller: 377-6413

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