MIDLAND, Texas — UPDATE: The city is currently running a survey on the voucher program. If you are interested in taking the survey you can take it by clicking or tapping here.
Animal lovers are rejoicing in Midland.
On Tuesday, city council members approved the allocation of an additional $65,000 to the city’s voucher and TNR (trap, neuter, release) programs.
The voucher and TNR programs cost the animal shelter about $30,000 a month, but have helped bring down euthanasia rates.
“We feel like the city council heard our need and definitely stepped up to the plate to make it happen," Karen Patterson, Fix West Texas, said.
The money will cover the costs for the rest of the 2020-21 fiscal year, which wraps up in October.
“It feels great," Carrie Powell, Midland Cat Wranglers President, said. "I can’t tell you how happy I am. I have had sleepless nights over this, wondering if the voucher program was ended how we were going to continue our mission to TNR."
When it comes to the next fiscal year, city council members tell NewsWest 9 over the next month or so they will be meeting with animal nonprofits to decide just how much money is needed to keep these spay and neuter programs going.
While no price tag has been set, it is not cheap to fix dogs and cats.
It costs Midland's animal shelter over $280,000 a year to keep the programs going.
For the animal nonprofits, now it is a matter of convincing city council members that paying for the program in the next fiscal budget will be worth it.
“It’s no longer an option to take your puppies that your dog had down to animal control and let it be their problem," Patterson said. "Not only do they have to try to adopt those out, but whichever ones they can’t they have to kill. And that’s just because you didn’t spay and neuter, so what we’re trying to do is make it accessible for people and make it the new social norm to get your dogs and cats fixed.”
As for what the city is willing to put into the programs for next year?
It is too soon to tell.
“I don’t want to make a prediction for how much money we’re going to be willing to spend in the future," Lori Blong, Midland City Council, District 4, said. "I think it’s more important to get our systems and processes in place before we commit to a future dollar amount.”
The fiscal budget for next year will be decided by the end of the summer.
Until then, animal nonprofits here are encouraging the public to reach out to their city council members and the city manager in order for leaders to have the information needed to make a decision about the animal shelter’s budget.