Humane society seeking financial assistance
Animal Charity says it’s dealing with emergency
YOUNGSTOWN — The Animal Charity of Ohio Humane Society said it has such a high number of abused animals — with about 90 percent of them coming from Youngstown — that unless it receives financial assistance from the city, it may have to stop services here.
“If Youngstown got to be too much and it’s getting there, we could pull out of the city,” Jane MacMurchy, Animal Charity’s operations director, told city council’s health committee Tuesday.
She added: “We hope it never happens, but we’re dealing with emergency numbers.”
Councilwoman Lauren McNally, D-5th Ward and the committee’s chairwoman, said: “If you were to pull out of Youngstown because of expenses or cut back, it would be a serious crisis for Youngstown.”
MacMurchy requested annual funding of about $290,000, which would cover 90 percent of the medical costs of the animals in the city and care staff.
McNally said the city’s American Rescue Plan committee should consider forwarding the request to council for a vote.
The city would consider using ARP funds for the first few years to pay the Animal Charity expenses, she said.
“Ideally it would be an annual payment,” MacMurchy said. “But I understand there are other needs in the city.”
Of the 204 animals in care at Animal Charity, 185 of them, 91 percent, are from Youngstown, according to statistics provided by MacMurchy. Also, of the 529 animals taken in by Animal Charity last year, 92 percent came from Youngstown, her statistics show.
Among the animals from Youngstown in care, she said, include four roosters from a cockfighting investigation as well as rabbits, horses, pigs, a snake and a bearded dragon.
Of the 416 animals rescued from abuse this year, as of Tuesday, 308 are from Youngstown, 74 percent.
Animal Charity is on pace to exceed the 529 animals it took in all of last year, MacMurchy said.
If Animal Charity were to stop taking in abused animals in Youngstown, Michael Durkin, the city’s code enforcement and blight remediation superintendent, said it would be a serious problem.
“We would have to restructure everything,” he said. “We’d have to create a whole new department.”
In June, MacMurchy asked city council for money to help pay for new offices for the organization.
She said Tuesday that Animal Charity will fund the relocation from Market Street in Boardman to a building on Southern Boulevard and McClurg Road through a bank loan.
The project is expected to cost about $600,000.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Health Commissioner Erin Bishop introduced a proposed residential lead-based paint ordinance for council to consider.
It would require any rental properties in the city that were built before 1978 to get a certificate after a test determined the structures don’t have lead-based paint. If lead-based paint is found, it would have to be remediated.
“What we want to do is be proactive and not allow people to move into homes with lead-based paint,” she said.
Durkin said most of the city’s housing stock was built before 1978.
The policy would take a few years to be fully implemented, Bishop said.
McNally called the proposal “a good step forward in making sure we’re protecting our residents, particularly our most vulnerable.”
The committee agreed to have council vote on the policy. Its next meeting is Aug. 24.