By MIKE COURSON
Great Bend Post
Each year, the Barton County Commission and other governing entities pay to use the Golden Belt Humane Society as the Animal Control Authority in their jurisdiction. Barton County Counselor Patrick Hoffman recently updated the county's agreement so it will come before the governing body for review annually. Commissioner Barb Esfeld, who also serves on the GBHS board, explained the change at Wednesday's meeting.
"I think we were always reviewing it annually, but it really wasn't in the contract," she said. "Patrick looked it over for us, thank goodness, and there were a few changes, just mainly changing some words here and there that have changed over time."
The county agreed to pay GBHS $31,500 for the next year of services. Esfeld explained the facility currently has four full-time and four part-time employees. Though it is called a "no-kill" shelter, some dogs must be euthanized due to illness or injury. Still, the humane society puts down just about four percent of dogs, a significant decrease from the approximately 50-percent rate before Heather Acheson took over as director. Esfeld said that is just part of improvements to the local shelter.
"I've been to other shelters," she said. "It's extremely clean, by far cleaner than other ones. The animals are very well taken care of. They're taken on walks. They have a very big committee that just dedicates itself to fundraising. That's where the majority of the money comes from."
The Golden Belt Humane Society serves all of Barton County, including several rural communities, and assists with other shelters that reimburse GBHS. Golden Belt recently took in approximately 10 dogs from a large puppy mill in Conway Springs.