Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand Humane Society tightening its belt

Budget constraints and overcrowding have caused the Grand Strand Humane Society to increase some fees and begin figuring putting a plan in place for when it begins to turn animals away.

Myrtle Beach City Council grants money to the Humane Society, which received $230,000 the past two years. This year the city is expected to grant the shelter $280,000 when it approves its budget. The budget ordinance is up for a second and final reading on Tuesday.

However, director Sandy Brown said the shelter requested $350,000 this year because it typically is able to borrow against its endowment.

“We’ve borrowed all that we can,” she said. “If we got the $350,000 we would have been able to continue to operate as we have been.”

Brown said the shelter often has nearly 300 animals in its care and the capacity is about 200. The Human Society is a no-kill shelter. With the amount it is expected receive next fiscal year, which begins July 1, they will have to turn animals away and send them to Horry County Animal Control, a government-run shelter that euthanizes animals after five days, Myrtle Beach city manager Tom Leath said.

“We want to save them all, but we won’t be able to do that,” Brown said. “It’s the city’s decision to have any overflow go to the county. ... We need to get it down to about 150.”

The shelter also decided to increase some of the fees for the clinical services offered.

“Initiatives were taken to bring more money into the facility without causing an extra burden on the public,” Brown said, adding that their costs often are lower than those at private clinics.

The facility increased the fees to spay and neuter animals by $10 and other medical services by a few dollars, Brown said.

Brown said the best thing that can be done for the facility is to continue to raise money through donations.

For example, a private donor has made it possible for 12 dogs that are at least 6 months old to be adopted for $10 each. The donor is making up the $100 difference for what it usually would cost.

“The more the community uses our clinic and if we’re able to raise more money, then eventually we will be able to keep more animals,” she said. “But it’s going to take a while.”