By Alyssa Schnugg
The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved extending its contract with MS Critterz for another six months and upped the amount of money the county will contribute to the animal shelter.
MS Critterz was selected by Oxford officials to run the animal shelter on McElroy Drive as of Oct. 1. The city agreed to pay about $106,000 annually.
In past years, Lafayette County paid about $25,000 annually to the shelter when it was managed by the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society.
In August, MZ Critters President Gail Brown asked the county supervisors to pay more than the board has allotted in the past, and in return, she promised the Supervisors that only animals from Oxford and Lafayette County would be taken in at the shelter. In previous years, the shelter took animals from several surrounding counties with little to no help from those county governments. The board voted in August to give MS Critterz $36,000 for the first six months until data could be collected and they received proof that the shelter was only accepting animals from Lafayette County.
On Monday, Brown provided copies of driver’s licenses and other forms of address verification from those who dropped off animals at the shelter to prove they lived in Oxford or Lafayette County.
The shelter provides animal control services only in the city of Oxford. However, the shelter takes in more animals from the county than from the city.
“Since November, we have taken in 420 animals from Oxford, and 497 from Lafayette County,” Brown said Monday at the board’s regular meeting. “We expect those numbers to increase over the next six months as we’re now just in puppy and kitten season.”
The shelter has adopted out 318 animals since November and transported 249 dogs and cats to shelters in other parts of the country, primarily in the northern states.
Supervisor Chad McLarty thanked Brown and MS Critterz for their hard work and for providing a much-needed, valuable service to Lafayette County and made a motion to pay MS Critters $90 per animal at a maximum of 90 animals per month until the end of the fiscal year which ends Sept. 30, which would come out to about $8,100 a month.
“We appreciate all you do,” he told Brown.
The motioned was seconded and approved unanimously by the board. The board will review the contract again at the end of the fiscal year and continue to monitor the intake numbers at the shelter.