GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- $233,636.90 is the current balance of Susie's Fund in an account held by the Guilford County Animal Shelter. That money has been in the account since July 15 and so far has not been used by the shelter.
The money was raised by animal lovers in Guilford County in honor of a dog named Susie. Susie was found beaten, burned and barely alive in a Greensboro park in 2009.
She survived, a law was named after her to ensure stricter punishment for animal abuse and she inspired people to raise money to help other animals like her.
Guilford County Animal Services Director Drew Brinkley says the shelter has not used the money since it was transferred from the United Animal Coalition because they have no official guidelines on how it should be used.
"We'd just like to have a framework that says that we're going to treat this one, we're not going to treat this one, so we can evaluate who qualifies for it. And then we also need to know what list of clinics in the Greensboro or Guilford County area would be places where we could refer animals for treatment for Susie's Fund," Brinkley said.
Brinkley says transparency in how the funds are used is of the utmost importance since the state revoked the license of the United Animal Coalition in August 2015. The UAC had operated the shelter since 1998. Three of the shelter's former employees, including the executive director, were charged with animal cruelty.
"Animal services in Guilford County has been under a lot of criticism before with what happened under the previous regime so we really want to make sure that we're being above board with everything that we are doing," Brinkley said.
Brinkley says he and the shelter's medical director will most likely make a collaborative decision on which animals receive Susie's Fund money, but they will adhere to specific guidelines.
Right now Brinkley and the county's Animal Services Advisory Board is working on writing those guidelines, which may include an animal's adoptability, the cost of the necessary procedure, the likelihood of long-term quality of life and whether rehabilitation will be needed.
The board is set to discuss a proposed set of guidelines at its next meeting in December. Brinkley says as soon as they are agreed upon the shelter can start treating animals with Susie's Fund.