Pike shelter struggles with shortfalls

Director Barry Heim says rumors of the shelter closing are untrue, but that more money is needed

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  • Photo by Jerry Goldberg Bob and Peggy Mandics discuss adopting a dog with volunteer Jody Scholz of the Port Jervis Humane Society.

  • Photo by Jerry Goldberg Two DV cheerleaders talk with a volunteer from the Port Jervis Humane Society about the Pet Adoption Day at Koda's Playground as another local resident listens.

By Jerry Goldberg

— Amid rumors the that Pike County Humane Society is closing, director Barry Heim said: “I’m tired of hearing these rumors. We are not closing, and I am not going anywhere.”

He did say that the society is experiencing financial problems.

“We manage this place very well and our only problem is rising expenses and less income," he said. "For the first six months of this year we only took in $100,000 while our expenses ran $155,000. If it weren’t for the grace of God, we wouldn’t be here."

The Pike County Commissioners donate money to the humane society (see list of all revenue sources).

“Everybody is facing hard economic times," Commissioner Rich Caridi told the Courier. "I have to prioritize my focus on county problems, and services for people heads my list.”

He admitted Pike County would encounter serious problems if the humane society had to close.

Dingman Township also contributed to the humane society. Dingman Supervisor Tom Mincer said the supervisors don’t watch over the society, but he believes they do a good job of managing their money and facilities.

“We always hear they are going to close ,but somehow they manage to keep going,” said Mincer.

Heim told the Courier he faces unexpected expenses all the time. This past Saturday the shelter ran out of water twice because its well ran dry.

“We can’t operate without water," he said. "It is not only used for fresh drinking water for the animals. We need it for cleaning to maintain healthy and sanitary conditions.”

A new well would cost $9,500, Heim said. The monthly budget for the humane society is $26,000, so well repair is a significant unplanned burden.

Approximately 15 to 20 people regularly volunteer at the shelter. Teenage volunteers now back in school work only on weekends. Retired senior citizen volunteers, many from the Hemlock Farms Community, come in regularly to work with the cats. Heim said he is always in need of volunteers to ease the work load.

At the United Way Day of Caring last Saturday, from 45 to 50 Delaware Valley high school and middle school cheerleaders reported to the shelter to paint fences, cleaned the facility, groom animals awaiting adoption, and socializing with them.

The humane society's challenges include a three-month-old pit bull puppy brought in on Saturday after it was found roaming loose by security personnel at Pocono Woodlands. The puppy was very sick, suffering from anal prolapse, which is caused by not being de-wormed. The puppy was overrun by intestinal worms, which caused him push so hard when trying to evacuate, his large intestine protruded inches outside his body. The puppy had either to be euthanized or taken immediately to a veterinarian.

Since the Pike County Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, Heim took the puppy to the society's emergency vet, who immediately de-wormed him, anesthetized him, and operated on him.

All of this became another huge expense the humane society. Heim’s wife, Janet, gave the vet a $1,697 check for the procedure, and Heim expects the final total to come to at least $2,500.

At this point little Neko — the name given to the puppy by some of the volunteers — is still under the veterinarian's care, with expenses mounting.

The DV cheerleaders were so moved when they saw Neko sick, they offered to raise funds to cover some if not all of the expenses to save Neko's life.

The humane society also provides a pet food bank for pet owners who can show need, such as being unemployed, disabled, or on public assistance.

For more information, to donate, or to volunteer, email pchumanesociety@verizon.net or call 570-296-7654.

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