Fort Pierce City Commissioners voted Monday to continue the city's contract with the Humane Society of St. Lucie County.
However, instead of making a one-time annual payment of $133,000, the city will make monthly payments of $11,083.34
This comes after the city and county leaders expressed concerns over the financial stability of the shelter, the management of its money, and the results of a recent inspection at the glades cutoff location.
In September, members of the Animal Shelter Standards Committee inspected the location and found concerns ranging from sick animals being in the mix with healthy animals, too many animals in single cages, hot temperatures, and inadequate staffing levels amongst other concerns.
“Our board of directors, shelter director and myself are currently going through the report,” said David Robertson, Director of Administration for the Humane Society.
Robertson says a new shelter manager has been hired and remedies for issues are being explored.
“You know we’re always looking to improve. We will welcome suggestions from anybody, we’re always looking to improve,” Robertson said.
Several animal advocates at the meeting supported the city’s decision, saying it protects tax payer’s money should the shelter continue to struggle financially.
Robertson says the shelter is looking into ways to bring in more money, aside from the contributions it receives from the City of Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, and St. Lucie County.
“As a non- profit, we’re always looking for ways to increase our funding...We’re always out there looking for financial partners. We’re always doing fundraising events,” Robertson described.
The shelter, according to records, reported losses of more than $700,000 to the IRS between 2015, 2016 and 2017.
As part of the new contract, the Humane Society will also have to provide financial statements to the city each month.
The Animal Shelter Standards Committee is also requiring the shelter to send in a plan detailing how staff it will get back on track and fix issues discovered during the inspection. That report is due by the end of the week.