FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (WHNT) — The director of a Tennessee animal shelter says they are being forced to close their doors after county officials failed to provide them with more funding.
“Basically, we asked for more money and they do not see our worth,” said Resa Beasley, director of the Humane Society of Lincoln County and Fayetteville Animal Shelter.
Beasley said increased prices on things like veterinary care, vaccinations, preventative medications, and a lack of adoptions led officials on the Humane Society of Lincoln County board to end animal control services for the city and county.
The shelter, established in 1985, took in almost 800 animals in 2021 and had to euthanize just 16 of them. Beasley said 583 of those animals were microchipped, 561 were spayed or neutered, 753 were vaccinated, and 768 have live outcomes.
“Most every community would be proud of a shelter with this type of outcome,” Beasley continued. “Not the City of Fayetteville or the mayor of Lincoln County. We have to beg each year for more funding. They have told us we don’t euthanize enough animals.”
After the shelter notified the city it would be closing, the city issued a press release saying in part, “Though Humane Society Representatives and City and County Officials have engaged in numerous discussions since the Humane Society issued its notification, there remains a number of issues between the entities which could not be resolved.”
The reaction within the community is understandable outrage.
Fayetteville City Administrator Kevin Owens, who the city says has years of experience and training as a member of the Humane Society of the United States, “understands the challenges of all entities involved.”
“During [his] first weeks in his current position,” the release said, “[Mr. Owens] was tasked with putting together a proposed budget and learned firsthand the difficulties in trying to meet the operational requests of city departments and agencies funded by the City and County. Difficult decisions had to be made in putting together the proposed budget recently approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Fayetteville.”
Beasley told News 19 that the shelter has been underfunded for years, with the city paying $72,500 and the county paying $62,500 each year. She said there are 11 employees at the shelter, and around half of those are part-time.
“The Humane Society wants to continue to fight the good fight for animal welfare in our community,” Beasley said. “However, we can’t do it with zero funding by the city and county.”
Pictures showing the conditions inside the shelter were shared with News 19 by someone wishing to remain anonymous. Images show parts of the ceiling that are caving in, mold in some areas, and an electrical outlet next to a puppy kennel that caught fire.
“We just want support from our local government and not have to beg for funding,” she continued. “This is my attempt, last-ditch effort for my staff and the animals of Lincoln County.”
In the city’s press release, they say they will continue working to develop plans to provide effective animal control services “available within the budgetary constraints,” saying they have reached out to many other organizations providing care in the area.
“The City and County wish the Humane Society of Lincoln County well in its future endeavors.”
“They realize the challengers arising fro the termination of the longstanding partnership with the Humane Society and are working to address them, both with short-term and long-term plans that will be announced in the coming days.”City of Fayetteville
According to Beasley, the shelter covers 570 square miles of Lincoln Count and almost 10 square miles of the City of Fayetteville. She said they currently have 165 animals in the shelter.
More information about the shelter can be found here. If you want to make a donation to the shelter, you can do that here. They have also currently cut prices on adoptions in an effort to get the animals still in the shelter into a safe place.
You can read the full press release here from the city and county regarding the shelter announcing its closure.