Always over-crowded and in a budget "crunch", Barb Umlauf, the shelter manager at the Hillside SPCA, indicates that the shelter finds itself right now in a financial crisis. Lori Fogg, Web Manager/List Manager, Hillside SPCA
Several situations have come together to create a drain on the budget that hasn't been seen since the shelter first opened its' doors 25 years ago and struggled every day to survive, sometimes down to literally their last dollar. Reserve funds have been tapped into, and there's no more in reserve.
Donations are down, most likely due to the slumping economy. Surrenders are up and the amount of animals flooding through the doors far surpasses the ones being adopted. People are being evicted or having their properties forclosed on, and they are bringing their animals to the Hillside. Add those to the huge number that have come in over the past few months from rescues, the most recent being the ones from the abandoned house in Auburn where costs in fuel, man hours, extra vet, food and medical expenses put a huge financial burden on the shelter.
Expenses have skyrocketed at the Hillside, many very recently. Workers' comp. took a single jump from $4,800 to $12,000, broken pipes just cost them $7,000 to repair, they just got an oil delivery which hit them for $4,600 (that's not the only oil delivery they got this winter -- and it won't be the last). Unemployment insurance has doubled and the cost of gas to run the vehicles necessary to respond to the multitude of calls they get every week to help an animal is astronomical. The annual budget is well over half a million dollars and increases in even the most basic operating expenses continue with no end in sight. That will be devastating at the rate it's going,
They are REALLY struggling right now, so much so that they truly don't know how much longer they can keep the doors open. If this shelter folds, the effect will be devastating. There are hundreds of animals there right now that woud have to be euthanized -- there is no where else for them to go. The county is not equipped to deal with the sheer volume of animals it will be faced with, nor is any other area shelter. The county doesn't even have an animal care facility right now. If even capable of putting something together, it would take months, more likely YEARS to happen. And that's just talking about the fate of the animals at the Hillside now -- today -- right this minute. Tomorrow there will be more -- the need doesn't just come to an end because the shelter does.
Sadly, it has long been the case where, if an animal cannot be safely taken to Hillside, it is often taken out and shot, or dumped along side the road and abandoned -- left to fend for itself until it finally dies, either as the result of being attacked by another animal, hit by a car, shot by someone in the woods, or by starvation -- a slow, excruciating process in itself. The suffering these abandoned animals is subject to is heart-wrenching.
I cannot even begin to put into words the problems and issues that would arise if the Hillside closes -- for the county, for the residents, for health and safety, for the thousands of innocent animals whose lives depend on a safe haven like the Hillside... I just cannot aptly express it. If you could see my face right now, the tears might give you a clue. I just pray I don't witness the shelter's demise -- it will be devastating in so many ways.What you can do
I know you are all feeling the pinch in your wallets, too, I really do. I feel awkward asking you to give during difficult times like these, but that is exactly when the Hillside really needs you to do just that.
EVERYTHING helps. $1, $5 -- anything you can give. If it's difficult to make a monetary donation, all kinds of supplies are needed from cleaning supplies, to first class postage stamps, to scoopable cat litter, to office supplies, to blankets -- often things you already have an don't use or need anymore -- just call them and they can let you know what they could use. Anything the shelter uses that they don't have to go out and buy because it's been donated by a faithful supporter like you helps tremendously. Perhaps you are in the position to sponsor a spay or neuter which makes an animal easier to adopt and prevents unwanted litters and MORE strain in the shelter -- the savings for the shelter in medical expenses would be a huge help.
It all adds up and can make a world of difference in whether the shelter survives -- and whether the animals do, too. You, the faithful, generous, loving supporters of this truly unique animals shelter, The Hillside SPCA, have made your voices clear throughout the years saying you want the Hillside to be there for the animals -- the sick and frail, the old, the young, the un-loved, the un-wanted, the neglected, the beaten and abused. It is ONLY through you that the shelter can remain open and continue on. So, even in these difficult times, if there is ANY way you can help, I earnestly ask you to do just that. HELP. Please.
All Contributions are Tax Deductible
to the fullest extent of the law.
"Thank You for Caring and Sharing"Contact information
to donate online.
Mailed donations should be sent to Hillside SPCA, PO Box 233, Pottsville, PA 17901
For those wishing to donate items and supplies, please contact the shelter at 570-622-7769 to discuss their needs and drop-off times. Phoning after noon is best.
for Hillside SPCA's website.Pictured above:
Judy, a 7 year old tri-color beagle that spent her entire life in a pen, outside. Lucky for her, she's at the Hillside now where she will be loved and adored until she finds a new INSIDE home. Judy needs a Guardian Angel to help with surgery for a mammary tumor, likely the result of not being spayed and having puppies. Click here
to learn more about how you can help Judy.Reprinted with the permission of Hillside SPCAPhoto courtesy of Hillside SPCAPosted by Nicole, PA Team Leader