Elise Blue of the Northeast Missouri Humane Society says the shelter needs $175,000 to care for the nearly 2,000 animals it takes in each year. She brought her request to the Hannibal City Council meeting Tuesday night. Blue says the current $95,000 annual funding has not increased in nearly 20 years, while costs for vet care and meds continue to rise.  She told the council vaccinations cost around $24 per pet, and then the animals are taken to a vet for evaluation.  Blue says the vet bills can run from $50 to $1000.

Blue says besides the stray animals brought in by the Animal Control Officers, owners also surrender pets to the shelter without charge. The shelter has also taken in homeless pets as a result of owners who were involved in drug busts, as well as pending animal abuse cases. Feral cats brought in pose special challenges, due to their ferocious bite and disease-carrying potential.

The city provides water and electricity to the current facility on Warren Barrett Drive, while the shelter pays around $800 a month for gas and also takes care of building maintenance, including multiple roof replacements.

Plans are in motion to build a new facility at the corner of Paris Gravel and Veteran’s Road, with trust money left to the shelter. However, the trust specifies funds are for building construction and maintenance only; not day-to-day expenses. Since the new building will not be city-owned, the city will no longer waive water and electric charges.

Mayor Hark said the council will discuss the funding request during future budget planning meetings.