The Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard continues to rely on donations

Chris Valley of Oak Bluffs gets to know "Sugar," a Jack Russell terrier up for adoption at the Animal Shelter of Martha's Vineyard. — Photo by Steve Myrick

As it approaches its second year of operation, the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard has expanded staff, added hours, and is working toward ownership of the building and land, now the property of the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), which owned and operated the facility until May of 2009.

Shelter director Lisa Hayes said the facility remains funded entirely by charitable donations.

According to records from Dukes County, which provides administrative support for the animal shelter, the organization raised $112,032 in fiscal year 2010, its first full year of operation. It spent $42,952 to operate the shelter that year. That covered Ms. Hayes salary, at $29,754, and other operating expenses such as employee benefits, utilities, insurance, building repairs, and office supplies. The shelter paid part-time employees $11,141 during the year.

In the current fiscal year to date, the shelter has raised $117,036, and spent $44,245 for operating expenses. Ms. Hayes salary to date is $24,538. Two part-time employees have earned $18,580.

Since the shelter opened under the local organization, the group has raised $271,220, and spent $113,839, leaving a total of $157,381 on hand.

The shelter is now open Wednesday through Saturday, with the help of many volunteers and the two part-time staffers.

“We have a fundraiser in June, a garden party with a silent auction,” Ms. Hayes said. “There’s an appeal letter that goes out around Christmas.”

She said schoolchildren and local businesses also raise a substantial portion of the operating costs with individual fundraising projects.

The number of pets placed in Island homes now totals 210 and counting. “No bad feelings, no judgment, we just find them a new, forever home,” Ms. Hayes said.

Recently a Facebook web page with pictures of the cats, dogs, rabbits, and guinea pigs up for adoption has helped people pick a new pet.

The shelter’s directors are now at work on the final part of the shelter transfer from the MSPCA, which has expressed a wish to transfer the building and land at little or no cost. The local group must iron out the legal requirements.