Guilford County is getting rid of Susie’s fund.
The fund, which is named after a dog that was severely beaten and burned in 2009 in Greensboro, was established to help abused and injured animals in the care of the Guilford County Animal Shelter.
The dog, Susie, eventually recovered and, in 2010, the state of North Carolina passed Susie’s Law, which doled out tougher penalties for animal abusers.
The fund was originally managed by the United Animal Coalition (UAC) – the group that ran the Guilford County Animal Shelter for about two decades until a major animal abuse and neglect scandal three and half years ago caused the county to take over shelter operations. At that time, Susie’s Fund contained about $234,000.
Guilford County took over the fund and, for more than a year, never used it for anything. Since 2017, however, the county has been spending the fund down and helping a large number of animals with the money. Now the balance is about half what it was.
Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said the county has been using Susie’s Fund for its intended purpose, but he added that county administration has decided to replace it with a broader fund that would do much more than the limited role Susie’s Fund played. For instance, the new fund may be used for efforts that encourage pet adoption or take other actions that help the animals in the shelter’s care.
Payne said he doesn’t yet know what the new fund will be called.
Bev Levine, a member of the Guilford County Animal Services Advisory Board, said she was aware of the coming change. She wrote in an email that, according to what she had been told, “the county will put in place a more efficient mechanism”
Levine stated that it was her understanding that there were questions about how and when Susie’s Fund money could be used given the stated purposes for which that money had been collected years ago, under a different organization – the UAC.
Levine wrote that, according to what she has heard, “GCAS is not relinquishing the practice of getting complex medical treatment when the animals need it, just looking for the most efficient way to do so, it seems.”
Some county officials said the new fund will have fewer legal and procedural restrictions.
Guilford County Animal Shelter Director Jorge Ortega did not respond to an email or a voicemail inquiry on the matter.