Worcester County Humane Soc. sees ‘amazing strides’

Worcester County Humane Soc. sees ‘amazing strides’

(June 6, 2014) Linda Lugo’s first day as the Worcester County Humane Society’s director was March 17. In just a few months, she said she’s seen “amazing strides” at the no-kill shelter.

Worcester County Humane Society Director Linda Lugo holds one of the “tiny 20,” a group of dogs the shelter took in from a hoarding situation. Since taking over as director in mid-March, Lugo said the shelter has made “amazing strides.” (Clara Vaughn | Ocean City Today)

“I could not be happier,” Lugo said. “Adoption has been really, really on the move. Since I got here, we’ve probably done close to 50 adoptions.

“People are coming in. We’re seeing an increase in traffic,” she said.

One factor driving that foot traffic is the humane society’s new hours. The shelter, which once closed at 3 p.m., is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week.

The group also held its first general membership meeting in more than three decades, Lugo said, updating more than 100 attendees on the status of the shelter. That’s something she plans to do annually.

But perhaps the biggest progress the humane society has made is in its finances.

When its former director left last year, the organization was in a fiscal quagmire. From April 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013, the organization lost about $81,000, Lugo said.

From August of last year to this April 30, it made up for that deficit and was $10,961 “in the good,” she said.

“We have a lot better control of the funds. There’s been accounting for every dollar that comes in and every dollar that goes out,” Lugo said. “We have a much better control over veterinary costs, payroll — those are the two big ones.”

The shelter’s payroll salaries added up to more than $100,000 in the 2012-2013 time period, but totaled $59,459 during the second time period, she said.

Another move forward has been networking with other, similar groups. The humane society recently took in 20 small dogs in the aftermath of a hoarding situation in Pocomoke, dubbing them the “tiny 20.”

“We had them about three, maybe four weeks and we’ve adopted out 11,” Lugo said. “They’re doing fantastic in their new homes.”

The shelter also took in three dogs from Somerset County’s animal control that the Somerset shelter could not house.

“It’s nice to be able to reach out to other shelters and rescues and help them,” Lugo said.

Volunteer hours are up, helping socialize the shelter’s animals, keep facilities clean and make fundraisers a success. Between this March 22 and about the same day in May, volunteers logged 1,960 hours, she said.

The society has a new look for its Web site and has been using Facebook to keep more than 3,000 followers up-to-date on events and fundraisers. The group appeared at its annual Board Walkin’ for Pets event, hosted a fundraiser golf tournament on Thursday and has visited the local farmers’ market, Walmart, Home Depot and Burley Oak Tavern since Lugo arrived.

The goal is “to increase our visibility, to promote adoptions, donations and volunteers, and just to promote the shelter,” Lugo said. “I think it’s very important that we do network.”

Other than funding from the Town of Ocean City, the bulk of the shelter’s funding comes from donations, she said.

“I’m just so excited about how far we’ve come and I think this year is going to continue to be a banner year for us,” Lugo said. “Everything just keeps rolling.”

Visit the humane society online at www.worcestercountyhumanesociety.org or www.facebook.com/WorCoHumaneSociety.

Visit the shelter from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday except Sunday and Wednesday at 12330 Eagles Nest Road in Berlin.

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