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Animal shelter desperate for funds
A dog rolls in the grass at the Liberty Humane Shelter, waiting to be adopted out. - photo by File photo
Area residents and businesses alike are feeling the pinch of the economic downturn and recent military deployments. Understandably, consumers are clipping coupons and reducing household expenses when possible — including decreasing or eliminating donations to charities.
But at the Liberty Humane Shelter, a virtually nonexistent flow of funds has reduced the nonprofit’s staff to desperation.
“We are at extremely low funds. We are going to be lucky if these all clear,” shelter President Sandra Frye said, holding up her employees’ payroll checks. “I’ve been at the treasurer’s house and we were both practically in tears. We are at the point where we are asking what can we hold off paying or what can we pay this week?”
Frye said it’s a continued sign of the recession. She said she knows the shelter is not the only entity feeling a pinch. Because of the lack of financial assistance, the shelter can no longer pull animals from the county’s Animal Control facility, meaning more pets are being euthanized weekly.
“Once an animal comes in, we only have a set amount of time to do what we need to do to them,” Frye said. “We only have 30 days to give them shots and 30 days to send them to be spayed and neutered by law with the state of Georgia. And if we don’t have the funds, we can’t even pull them. If we don’t have the money to purchase the shots, the wormer and everything else we need, we just can’t do it.”
“It’s pretty desperate,” shelter employee Cari Ross said. “We’ve cut employee hours. We’ve stopped pulling animals from Animal Control. I think we are at a place where we need as much help as we can get. I’ve never seen it this bad and I’ve been here two to three years.”
The shelter currently is caring for 25 dogs and roughly 40 cats.
“We had a meeting last night and the shelter board voted to suspend the intake of any new animals at this time because we can’t afford to take care of them and pay the veterinarian expenses they require,” board member Susan Todd said. “We don’t know at this time how long it will be until we can begin pulling again from Liberty County Animal Control’s death row. We are doing all we can to keep costs down, including cutting hours for paid employees and asking the public for more items we can recycle like aluminum cans, ink cartridges and car batteries. We need more community support.”
“I think people still care,” Frye said. “I just think everyone else is struggling to figure out how they are going to pay their bills, too. And, unfortunately, the animals always end up coming last. I do understand, but we need help from somewhere. If everybody who can donate does donate, it will help us start climbing out of the hole. If you have the extra $25, please send it in.”
Frye said her staff is thankful for the support they still receive from Kroger, Walmart and Food Lion, which assist the facility with food supplies and cat litter, but costs associated with each pet’s medical care are quickly depleting the facility’s funds.
“But it’s a necessary thing,” the president said.
Todd said the cost to have a dog or cat spayed or neutered, wormed and brought up to date on vaccinations is $145.
“Our adoption fee is $135,” she said.
“It breaks my heart to know that there are animals that we can’t save every week,” shelter board member and Allenhurst Mayor Pro-tem Amanda Cox said. “But now, with the animals’ purchase fee not even covering the amount the shelter has in it, and with donations down, if we don’t get help we are going down for the count.”
Frye said they are working on grants, “But the thing about grants is you never know whether we will receive the funds or not,” she said. “It’s not something we can readily count on, and right now we are in rough shape.”
The group hopes to generate some funds during Memorial Day weekend.
On Friday, May 28, they will sell smoked Boston butts, and on Saturday, May 29, they will host a Doggy Family Fun day featuring a pet walk.
“We are going to be selling tickets for the smoked butts by next week and hope all are preorders,” Todd said. “We will deliver to places that have five or more orders like City Hall, the courthouse, banks, etc., so everyone will have them in time for their Memorial Day weekend. At our fun day, we are planning a micro chip and rabies clinic, water slide, yard sale and other family fun. We need gently used items if anyone has anything they would like to contribute for the yard sale.”
For the event, the shelter needs a location to use free of charge, volunteers and sponsors. Staffers hope to host other fundraisers, including a golf tournament this summer and a poker run in the fall. For more information, call 368-5254 or 876-3647 or donate online at

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