The Humane Society opened its doors back in 1989. It was closed for a brief time due to circumstances similar to what it is now facing. The shelter staff is trying its best during this troubling time to find homes for the animals or to transfer them to another shelter.
"Right now we're in crisis mode," explained Lynn Cullen, executive director at the Humane Society.
As of now the Humane Society has been forced to reduce hours and is now open two days a week -- Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. All staff members have had hours reduced, and one person has even been laid off.
"I'm hoping it's a temporary thing but we are not sure at this point," Cullen explained.
Fewer hours and less staff will have serious consequences for the animals, she said.
The shelter maintains the same budget it has operated under for the past three years. There have been no extra expenses yet; they are being forced to cut back in other areas.
With the current state of the economy, it is no wonder why many shelters are struggling.
"We have been going on bare minimum for months," Cullen said. "A lot of non-profits are struggling and we are no different."
Board members are working on new fundraising ideas, applying for every possible grant they can, and trying to increase donations.
The recent opening of the Rescued Treasures resale shop in downtown Greencastle helps but "it's not enough to keep the shelter open," says Cullen.
However, the Humane Society was set to get a grant back in January that fell through. Without the grant funding, the shelter just kept falling farther and farther behind, Cullen said.
"If we had gotten the money and the economy was better, this might have been prevented," Cullen added. "We've been struggling ever since."
Many wonder why the county does not help fund the Humane Society, she noted. Instead towns have to contract out to them in order to take care of their stray animals. The county has recently stopped bringing animals to the shelter and has no funding to help.
Fundraising is the biggest help to keeping the Humane Society doors open. One of the current fundraisers is "Be a Friend to Homeless Animals," which will allow the community members to either become a "Shelter Friend" or "Sponsor a Kennel."
If one chooses to become a shelter friend, the money donated each month will go to the shelter as a whole, whereas if one sponsors a kennel they will be able to pick a certain animal and receive updates on that animal.
Also, this Saturday, the Humane Society is allowing persons to choose their own adoption fee for all cats. This event will run at the Humane Society and last from noon to 5 p.m. As usual the Humane Society provides microchip clinics as well as mobile adoptions.
Dog licensing is another option the Humane Society is hoping for. This would not only help with funding but also make sure people are taking proper care of animals, as well as helping with the pet overpopulation problem. This would require anyone who owns a dog to have a license. The fee for this would be cheaper if the animal is spayed or neutered and up to date on their shots.
So what does this mean for the animals?
In the end, the animals are left alone for longer periods of time with less individual attention because of a smaller staff. Hopefully, many of the animals will be adopted out or transferred.
Animals that are found as strays will no longer be able to find a safe home at the shelter. People who bring animals to the shelter will be turned away due to overpopulation.
"You're pretty much on your own and out of luck, and it shouldn't be that way," Cullen explained.
There are no resources to pick up stray or injured animals. With the shelter no longer accepting animals, there are many people who are outraged.
"We get yelled at on a regular basis," Cullen said.
She advises dumping of animals on the property should be avoided, as there are little resources available to fully take care of any more animals.
Cullen is remaining hopeful that the Humane Society will be able to bounce back and keep its doors open.