Pearl River County’s animal shelter needs volunteers, donations to provide services

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2017

Due to insufficient funding, Pearl River County’s SPCA depends on donations, grants and volunteers to reach its goal of helping animals find forever homes.

In Mississippi, there are four types of animal shelters, which include those controlled by the city and county, privately owned shelters, shelters that have an affiliation with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International and independent shelters.

Even though the animal shelter in Pearl River County has an affiliation with SPCA, it is considered an independent shelter and as such does not receive funding from SPCA International.

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“We have a contract with the city of Picayune and Pearl River County and we receive monthly checks from them in order to maintain the shelter,” PRC SPCA Public Relations Manager Maria Diamond said. “The amount we receive from the city or county has not changed in the last five to six years but it is not enough to cover the expenses. It doesn’t even cover the salary of our employees.”

The shelter’s expenses include maintenance of the building, utilities, medicine for the animals and veterinary services, which can cost as much as $2,000 per animal.

Shelter directors, managers and receptionists within an animal shelter are usually paid positions, but that is not necessarily the case.

“Judy Wheaton, the director for PRC SPCA, is not paid for her work, she is just a volunteer,” PRC SPCA Treasurer Dara Hooper said. “Most of the people who work at the animal shelter are volunteers and a lot of them work over 40 hours per week.”

In order for the animal shelter to meet an animal’s needs before they are adopted, the PRC SPCA depends on donations and grants.

The insufficient funding means the shelter tries to keep its animal population low, which has a negative effect on many animals who don’t have a place to call home.

“We are always looking for donations and volunteers to help out at the animal shelter,” Hooper said. “Volunteer positions include computer work to even walking dogs, we have a position for everyone. We want more people to know that there is an animal shelter in Picayune and in Pearl River County and to come visit us if anyone is interested in getting a new pet.”

For more information, contact the PRC SPCA at (601) 798-8000.