Leaders of the nonprofit Friends of the Seal Beach Animal Shelter say the city is not paying its fair share of the cost to care for homeless animals.
Members of the volunteer organization are asking city officials to increase the funding of shelter operations to $9,000 a year from $800. A city task force is being formed to resolve the funding issue.
"The question that's being posed is, how much should it cost for them to provide this service?" interim City Manager Jack Shelver said.
Friends President Jackie Gonzalez said the $800 in annual funding, established in 1988 when the shelter opened, does not reflect the dramatic increase in the number of stray animals.
The shelter cared for between 100 and 200 animals annually during its first few years of operation, Gonzalez said, but this year expects to have more than 1,000.
The overall cost of shelter operations has risen from about $25,000 a year to an estimated $90,000, said Friends board member Julie Shields.
Through the June Strawberry Festival fund-raiser and a telethon each September, the nonprofit organization has remained self-supporting and has paid for several expansions of the shelter. The animal care center was constructed on city-owned land in June, 1988, with $65,000 in donations.
Demand for the shelter's services is high because animals are not destroyed unless seriously ill. The shelter's animal population has grown from a daily average of about 25 to nearly 100 animals.