The Langlade County Humane Society is keeping its doors open, at least for a little while. On Wednesday, the board of directors met in an emergency meeting to talk about plans for gaining more donations fast, and for the future, as well as what they are going to do if they have to close.
It was an emotional meeting as the entire board broke into tears after being asked about the shelter closing.
"It's been a rough couple of days," said Board President, Bob Zoretich.
He said they will not be closing Friday.
On Monday, Zoretich told NewsChannel 7 they could not pay their bills or their employees on their Friday deadline, and would be forced to close if they did not raise at least $10,000 by then. Wednesday, he said because of generous donors, they have raised $2,060. Several people and companies have been donating big and small. By Friday, he expects about $5,000 total, enough to pay their four staff members and some of their bills. With some expected donations and other income, he said they should be good until mid September.
"It's going to be a struggle, but right now we're okay," he said.
Their short-term plan goes along with their overall long-term plan to raise the funds. They're asking businesses and the county to pledge between $500-$1,000 for three years.
"That will set forth a program where after that and during the next three years, we'll be able to make sure we can maintain a level of giving and will have the funds necessary to properly run our shelter," he said.
Board members said it's a necessary service for the area.
"This community has a large number of animals and they have to be taken care of," said Vice President, Jeanne Jankowski. "They cannot be left to roam or you can't just dump them off."
She said the shelter is not just housing the animals; they're giving them a lot of love and care to make sure they are ready for good loving homes.
"When you have that many animals, there's a lot of work and compassion, we just don't clean, the animals have to be held and hugged and you know, we tell them we love them."
On Monday, an area shelter claims it's on the brink of closing its doors if it does not get enough funding by the end of the week.
The Langlade County Humane Society is broke and the non-profit shelter is crying out for donations as the Board President, Robert Zoretich said they need at least $10,000 now, or they will be forced to close their doors on Friday.
"Next week, I have to, well actually next Friday, meet payroll of about $3,000 and pay $2,000 worth of bills, so we'll be back to square one by the end of the week," Zoretich said.
The shelter is beyond capacity with more than 140 dogs, cats, kittens, and puppies. He said that comes with a lot of medical expenses, medications, care, and food. On top of that, the shelter also has four paid staff members, utility bills, and taxes. Zoretich said total monthly costs are between $10,000 and $14,000.
They do not receive any funds from taxes or federal funds. They are completely funded by donations, grants, fundraisers, aluminum can recycling collections, and adoption fees, however adoption fees only make up for the costs in medical expenses making zero profit.
The problem, Zoretich said though they have very generous donors, many of those donors can either no longer give, or are giving less and fundraisers are not doing as well as they have in the past. The number of animals in the shelter are also up due to births, more people surrendering their animals because of expenses, moves, or vacations, and because people are on vacation during this time, there are not as many people looking to adopt.
You may be curious as to why the shelter waited until now to ask for help, Zoretich said though the shelter has always struggled, they never expected it to get to this point.
"It kind of sneaks up on you," he said. "I think you see money in the bank and sometimes you say, well, we've always made it. And maybe it's a false sense of security. We've always done it for the last 20 some years and we've made it somehow, but sometimes there comes a time when the monies run out and we've exhausted all of our generous people out there and it's just hard."
Zoretich said he and the other eight board members, who are all volunteer and not on the humane society's payroll, have been working diligently to find new donors and raise the money. A meeting is scheduled tomorrow so the board can discuss plans both if they meet their minimum of $10,000 and if they have to close. Zoretich said if they got $30,000 in donations by Friday, they would be able to make it through the rest of the year based on prospective adoptions and their monthly recycling fund. He said the Ethel Hunt Fund gave a $300,000 donation several years ago. That money is still in a Chicago bank, but he said the shelter is not allowed to touch it and only receives its interest quarterly. Zoretich said he is researching to see if there is any way to access those funds to help their cause.
If the shelter were to go under, he said they would have to make a call to the Federation of Wisconsin Humane Societies to see if there are any other shelters that could take them. They may also have to look for foster homes.
If you would like to help, you can visit the shelter or mail your donations to:
Langlade County Humane Society
2204 Clermont Street
Antigo, WI 54409
You can also visit their website: langladecountyhumanesociety.org
Zoretich said if you cannot donate at this time, but you've been thinking of becoming a pet owner, you can still help by adopting an animal.
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