So far, I’ve devoted a lot of attention to the wastewater funding issue. However, I recently discovered another funding inequity that affects the Upper Keys community. In March, the Free Press reported that the Upper Keys Animal Shelter had the highest euthanasia rate of the three county-funded animal shelters. County Administrator Roman Gastesi was quoted as saying, “I will have someone look into that”. Hopefully there will be a timely, accurate and truthful report.
I love animals. I volunteered at a shelter once upon a time. Every pet that’s ever been part of my family has been a stray or a shelter animal. I felt compelled to look deeper into this issue. The Free Press reported that the Upper Keys Shelter handled 743 animals last year, the Middle Keys Shelter handled 285, and the Key West Shelter handled 800.
According to Monroe County documents, the Upper Keys Shelter receives $270,321/year, Middle Keys Shelter $247,563/year; and Key West Shelter $515,000/year. So the Upper Keys Shelter receives about half the funding of the Key West shelter, yet they handle about the same number of animals. The Middle Keys shelter handles about half the number of animals as the Upper Keys shelter but receives roughly the same amount of funding. Why?
It stands to reason that the difference in funding might have something to do with the higher euthanasia rate. I wonder what County staff will say about this after they’re done “looking into it”.
Update: I’ve added links to the documents below.
Free Press Article, “Kill Rate Highest At Upper Keys Shelter”
Agreement between Monroe County and Upper Keys Shelter, Middle Keys Shelter, and Key West Shelter.