A local shelter wants to find homes for its more than 60 animals as soon as possible before it closes next month.
Top of Ohio Pet Shelter in Bellefontaine announced this week that it will close on June 9 because of financial difficulties.
“It was a very difficult decision,” Executive Director Barbara Faulkner said. “None of us want to shut the doors but we have to have money to keep the doors open and it just isn’t here.”
Now the shelter wants to adopt out the more than 50 dogs and more than a dozen cats that it currently houses, she said. Other local shelters have also contacted Top of Ohio to offer to take animals that aren’t adopted.
“We want to stay open but we have to acknowledge the reality,” she said.
Faulkner was hired as executive director of the shelter in December. Donations weren’t enough to keep it running, she said.
The shelter is $50,000 in debt, she said, and costs about $20,000 a month to operate.
“We have cut everything that we can absolutely cut,” she said.
It receives about $7,000 a month in funding from Logan County, she said, to care for stray or lost dogs picked up by the dog warden.
The county had a contract with the shelter to provide the services, Logan County Commissioner Dustin Wickersham said.
About 90 percent of dog registration fees collected go to the shelter, he said.
“They did a great job providing the service,” Wickersham said. “The challenge is their finances.”
Top of Ohio is the only shelter in Logan County so now the county will have to look to nearby counties to care for lost of stray dogs.
“We’re going to have to find someone, another organization locally or another humane society in a neighboring county or shelter that would be interested,” he said.
But Logan County residents shouldn’t worry, he said.
“I’m sure we’ll find someone,” Wickersham said.
Volunteers showed up to the shelter on Wednesday to help and said they were turned away.
“This belongs to the people of this community and it’s needed,” said Christopher Dewitt, former board president at Top of Ohio who offered his help.
The shelter has struggled because of mismanagement for years, he said.
“We need people who are here for the dogs,” he said. “Not for their own personal agenda.”
Faulkner remains hopeful that the community will come together to keep the shelter open.
“We are still praying for a last minute miracle to save us,” she said.
The shelter can be reached at 937-593-4277.
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