For the past several years, the Humane Society of the Ochocos (HSO) has received $3,000 per month from the City of Prineville and Crook County to help them keep their shelter financially afloat.

Earlier this year, city officials agreed to keep the payments coming in exchange for quarterly financial reports from the Humane Society, something they had not furnished up to that point.

Recently, the city received their first report and news was good. From July to September 2013, the shelter generated a $9,782 net income — which includes $18,000 of local government contributions.

We applaud the Humane Society for their recent financial success. Leading up to this quarterly report, even with the government payments, the shelter struggled to make ends meet. As recently as last summer, HSO board president Greg Lynch approached the Crook County Court in hopes of increasing the payments.

Under the leadership of shelter manager Stephen Drynan, who arrived about 10 months ago, the shelter has cut labor and medication costs while increasing revenues by boosting adoption rates and membership.

Clearly, Drynan has the Humane Society moving in the right direction, and we hope that he continues to keep the shelter in the black. As he does so, we believe that it is time for HSO to consider scaling back the contributions they take from the city and county.

We understand that city and county officials have both decided that the contributions cost less than it would to operate their own shelter, and they consequently intend to keep providing regular payments.

However, we see no reason why the Humane Society could not ask for less assistance as its income improves. If they continue to generate at least $9,000 per quarter, perhaps the city and county should lower their payments to $2,000 per month, resulting in an overall deduction of $6,000. This would still leave HSO $3,000 of net revenue, which is a considerable improvement over the past few years when they faced financial shortfalls.

We hope the Humane Society is willing to take this step. The city and county have given $72,000 a year to the shelter for the past four years. Since they have stepped up and helped the shelter, we believe now is the time for the shelter to step up and take some of the burden off of taxpayers.

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