JEFFERSON-Despite online chatter that seems to indicate Ashe County Animal Control could be in dire budget straits, Ashe County Manager Sam Yearick said nothing could be further from the truth.
That news follows a Sept. 26, interview with Yearick where he told the Jefferson Post the department remains on solid financial footing despite a roughly $3,000 budget cut compared to last year.
“In fact, our insurance costs in that department will be roughly $6,000 less than last year, so yes, the budget is slightly lower but are so are our costs.”
The confusion stems from Facebook posts made in local forums by a part-time Ashe County Animal Control employee who solicited donations due to “budget cuts,” earlier in September.
“Ashe County Animal Control Wants You to donate supplies,” the employe posted on Ashe Co. In The Know. “Animal Control’s budget was cut, therefore we need your help. We are asking for supplies such as dog food, cat food, bowls, litter pans, cat litter, pine shavings, water buckets, leashes, collars, flea treatment and de-wormer. Help us continue to save lives!”
Yearick said it wasn’t long before he was receiving emails and phone calls from people asking why animal control’s budget had been “slashed.”
“Now I get it,” Yearick said. “These Facebook posts must have been where that started.”
He said the department’s budget has remained relativly static in recent years.
For the 2014-2015 budget year Animal Control was allotted some $239,000 due to certain capital expenses. It was allotted $229,000 last year and roughly $226,000 for fiscal year 2016-2017.
Yearick said the department is only expected to spend roughly $217,000 however.
“It requested roughly $294,000 when commissioners were working on a budget which mainly included a new truck and some laptops which were not approved,” Yearick said.
Ashe County Animal Control Director Joe Testerman told Yearick through email that he knew the employee in question was seking donations like shavings, buckets and pet food, but said he was not aware the individual listed budget cuts as the reason for the request.
“She’d asked if she could ask for donations for animal supplies and I told her if people want to donate items we can use them and we will be glad to receive them,” Testerman said. “I told her that it was not good to ask for donations. We have approved a network of people that work with animals and they are all about trying to get donations.”
Testerman told Yearick the online requests would be removed immediately.
“We do not support or authorize a statement such as that and would be defamatory towards (Yearick and the Ashe County Board of Commissioners),” Testerman wrote. “Thank you for bringing it to my attention.”