Rufus Refuge continues to push for county funding


Dawn Knight of Rufus Refuge spoke to the Madison County Commissioner’s Court again on Monday morning and pleaded for funding for her organization.

This is the third time she has spoken to the court about possible funding to help the animals.

“We have obtained 22 more rescues since I spoke here two weeks ago,” Knight said to the commissioners. “We have homed 19 more than we had last time. Of the 22 new animals, 14 were in Madisonville and eight in other cities in the county.”

Knight presented the court with printed examples of some of the many text messages she has received of late informing her of new situations that require immediate attention. She also showed the court pictures of three dogs that were obtained by the shelter in the last 10 days alone. Two of the animals had disturbing lacerations on their neck areas and one was severely underfed to the point where you could make out the ribs.

“I don’t mean to gross anyone out, but this is what we do and this is what we deal with on a daily basis,” said Knight. “This is obviously neglect and abuse.”

Knight mentioned how all of the injuries to the dogs pictured also involved tethering in some way. Tethering is when you tie an animal to a rope or chain in order to restrict their movement and was the topic of some debate in the Texas House last March.

The proposed bill would’ve made it a misdemeanor to chain up a dog in the state of Texas, but it did not pass. It will be up for debate again in 2019 and Knight vowed in front of the commissioners to do everything she could to get it passed when that time comes.

In the meantime, she’s focused on receiving any sort of funding from the court. The organization’s total veterinary bills for June totaled $4,503, which is right on par with their monthly average. From Jan. 1 to the end of June, they have totaled $28,431 in vet bills. They have received $2,970 from the city of Madisonville, or $500 a month. That totals about nine percent of their monthly vet fees.

The expenses above do not include necessities such as shelter beds, shelter doghouses, dog food, crates, training, collars and leashes. Those expenses have come out of pocket, totaling $12,879.

The organization officially requested funding for half of the total monthly vet bills of the county animals and assistance with funding a county-wide, low cost spay and neuter program.

They see a spay and neuter program as a long-term solution for abandoned and unwanted animals. Knight stated that this is something that most counties offer and has proven to be successful in the aid of animal control.

“We’re hoping and praying that they’ll step up and help,” said Knight after the meeting. “We just don’t know how much longer we can do this.”

The next commissioner’s court meeting for Madison County will take place on Monday, Aug. 14 at 9:30 a.m.

Contact Campbell Atkins at