The Palm Beach County Commission approved the Countdown to Zero resolution in February, however, it appears that the county manager has proposed zero funding for this program in Fiscal Year 2015.
Until programs are funding from general revenue for free/low-cost spay/neuter for all, and pet retention programs (food banks, low-cost vet care) for those in need, Palm Beach pets will continue to die and suffer on the streets, or be killed or warehoused in shelters.
This is not a matter of putting animals before people. Behind every animal taken in, there are human issues and real financial costs to the community. Too many animals means children in poor neighborhoods must witness animal abuse and suffering. It’s the emotional toll taken on county workers who must pick up the dead and abused animals from our streets and kill healthy animals each day. It’s the person who starts out well meaning to save animals only to end up overwhelmed and labeled a hoarder. It’s individuals who love their pets but have to give them up because they can’t afford simple preventive care for them. It’s the traffic, attacks, other accidents, court and police costs and neighborhood disputes that occur due to too many animals in the wrong places.
Do we fund schools or law enforcement by only taxing parents or crime victims or perpetrators? Pet overpopulation is a community problem, and the community should pay to solve it humanely. Funding from fines/licenses is neither fair nor adequate. Higher fines and fees could encourage people to abandon animals.
Before the July 22 budget meeting, please contact your county commissioners and tell them to fund programs to humanely stop the waste of lives and money.
Debbie Lewis, The Acreage