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Money dispute causes Forsyth Human Society to end contract with county

Commissioners have until December 1st to decide whether to approve the humane society's offer to extend services through march

FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — The Forsyth Humane Society is preparing to end its contract to keep running the county's animal shelter.

It comes down to money, the humane society is asking the county to increase funding. The county is asking the shelter to cut costs.

WFMY News 2's Grace Holland found out what's behind the cost changes and what happens next.

At the humane society's shelter, there are cats and dogs looking for new homes but it's getting fuller every day.

"We've seen a 20 percent increase in intake. We will be well over 6000 animals coming in this year," Forsyth Humane Society Director Mark Neff explained.  

He said the cost of keeping these pets off the street is rising.

"There's a vet tech shortage, the increases in staffing expenses, and just the basic supplies," Neff added.

Neff is taking his case to the county board of commissioners to ask their budget increase to $1.5 million. He said conversations have been going on since October. He most recently spoke at a meeting on Monday.

Commissioners offering a little over a million and the gap is hard to bridge according to county manager Dudley Watts. 

 "County commissioners feel like Forsyth humane Society auto picks up half of the medical cost and that's not negotiable for the humane society," Watts said.

Neff is now preparing to end the humane society's partnership with the county in Spring 2023. 

That partnership began in 2018 and since then, he said the saving rate for dogs and cats has increased by 40 percent. Neff said their adoption services will continue, but he worries about what it will mean for the county to take back control of the program.

"You're going to see a significant increase in euthanasia," Neff said.

Watts said the hope is to avoid that.

"We hope that we could operate it at the same level. Is that possible, it remains to be seen," Watt added. 

Commissioners have until Dec.1 to decide whether to approve the humane society's offer to extend services through march. That would serve as a transition period until the county takes over.


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