The Monroe County Friends of Animals began in 2004 with a handful of
local residents dissatisfied with the deplorable shelter in existence at that time. The
group entered into negotiations with the Monroe County government. This led to the
formation of a county-run animal shelter, which was approved by a narrow commission
vote at the end of 2004. As a result, MCFA incorporated as a 501(c) (3) organization,
and all donations became tax deductible.
On December 5, 2004, Monroe County approved funding in the amount of
$35,750 for the first 6 months of shelter operation as a provisional program. After six
months, there was no turning back! Currently, the county budget for fiscal year July '08
through June '09 was $160,198, which included salaries for two full-time employees.
During this same period, income for the county from adoptions, spay & neuter and
miscellaneous donations amounted to $43,196, making the county commitment at about
$117,002/year. The budget amount has been renewed for the July '09-June '10 fiscal
MCFA agreed to supplement the shelter with additional funds, in-kind
donations and volunteer resources to meet the daily requirements of supplies, medications
and food. It provides tremendous enhancements to the shelter through the use of its
volunteer-staffed programs and initiatives. In addition to hands-on animal care and
training at the shelter, MCFA takes educational programs into the schools, provides
spay and neuter vouchers to local low-income pet owners (through its partnership with
Spay Neuter Assistance for Pets [SNAP]) and promotes public awareness throughout the
community. Today, MCFA consists of approximately 240 members and a volunteer six-member
Board of Directors. It has no paid staff.
The shelter has adopted a healthy animal initiative which ensures
the quality of health and adoptability of every animal received. At intake, all animals
receive a physical evaluation, which includes de-worming and a fecal exam. They are bathed,
groomed and given treatment for fleas, if required. Once selected for adoption, the
animal is spayed or neutered before being turned over to its new family.
The Monroe County Animal Shelter is providing a service to the
community that has until now been nonexistent. The number of stray and abandoned animals
was growing at an alarming rate within the county, and continues to grow. The first year
of operation, the shelter took in over 1,000 animals; and in 2008, the intake was over
an eye-popping 5,000 animals. The shelter has become a model program in this community,
and its future success depends very heavily on working together with MCFA and on the
continued support of our friends, neighbors and dedicated volunteers.