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SALEM Request causes shelter to stop taking strays



Published: Wed, August 15, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The shelter remains open and animals may still be adopted.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- A funding shortage and complaints about barking are forcing an area animal shelter to stop accepting stray dogs and cats.

Mary Lou Popa, president of the Salem Area Humane Society, announced the new policy Tuesday, saying it saddens her.

Dogs and cats can still be adopted from the shelter, which will remain open, Popa noted. She said she's not sure what will become of the shelter if all the dogs and cats on hand are adopted. She added that the agency is looking for another location for its shelter.

The decision to stop accepting animals comes after the private nonprofit shelter was asked recently to reduce the number of dogs at the facility along U.S. Route 62 in Perry Township, west of Salem.

Made the request: The Columbiana County prosecutor's office and township trustees made the reduction request in response to shelter neighbors' complaints about barking dogs at the facility, Popa said.

The only way to reduce numbers is to stop accepting more dogs and to adopt out the ones remaining, she explained.

The shelter has about 47 dogs. Popa was unsure how many cats are there.

A cash shortage also is prompting the shelter to stop accepting animals, Popa said.

She explained that some animals taken in by the shelter need veterinary care. That's an expense the agency has trouble affording, Popa added.

For years, the shelter has relied on about $20,000 it received annually from a trust fund established in 1959 to benefit animals.

Funds held up: But Judge C. Ashley Pike of Columbiana Common Pleas Court suspended dispersal of the trust fund money nearly two years ago.

The loss of the cash is forcing the shelter to scrape by on donations, Popa said.

Judge Pike's decision to suspend the trust fund money was in response to claims from some shelter officials that funds were being misspent and that animals were receiving improper care.

Since then, the humane society has altered its operations to ensure fiscal responsibility and proper animal care, shelter officials have said.

The agency wants the judge to order the trust fund payments restored.

But a different group, which calls itself Salem Humane Society Inc., is asking the judge to award it the trust fund dollars, saying it wants to use the money to undertake animal welfare efforts.

The matter is pending.




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