Funding issues force Grand Strand Humane Society to stop taking in animals

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Things could get a little quieter at the Grand Strand Humane Society. The shelter has been caring for abandoned and homeless animals for more than 40 years. It costs around $800,000 a year to keep the shelter operating, and now there may be trouble keeping it going.

"There is a strong possibility we will have to close, without funding." said Sandy Brown, the Executive Director of the Grand Strand Humane Society.

Brown says the society  needs more money from the City of Myrtle Beach to keep operating. In the past, the city gave $230,000, while the society borrowed the rest of the needed money from an endowment. Now that funding source is nearly gone.

"It's even more critical, because next year we aren't going to have a fund to dip into," said Brown.

Without the extra money, the 250 animals who currently call the society home will have to move. But for these animals, a move means more than just a new place.

A post from the Grand Strand Humane Society on May 29 states:

"Dear Friends:
When you visit our shelter you will see a note on our front door letting those who want to drop off animals that we will not be taking in anymore animals from the public until we can raise funds to keep the shelter going. Our plan, as we work with the City on funding, is to have a smaller shelter with fewer animals that we can save and find homes - we will keep our clinic open offering discounted preventive care for all domestic animals, as well. We will not euthanize any of our precious animals to get our numbers down, we will work with rescues and, hopefully, adoptions. It will take a while to get our population where it needs to be based on our budget. We will operate with the City Animal Control Officers in a different way working out when and how many animals we can take at a time. Those details are being worked out now. Carol M. Duty and our own Board President, Elena Nicholas, put out a challenge and a plea for all 10,479 of you to donate just $10.00 each - that would certainly help us save animals! We have a PayPal account under the icon GIVE above if that makes donating easier. I want to thank you all for helping us stay open and saving as many animals as we possibly can. Sandy Brown,"

"It is a matter of life and death," exclaimed Brown. "It's a death sentence if they have to go someplace else."

Brown says the Grand Strand shelter doesn't put animals down for space, but other places do.

"Its going to be an extremely large number of euthanasia," Brown said.

Mark Kruea with the City of Myrtle Beach says the city has no problem with funding the humane society, it's just a matter of how much.

"The humane society asked for an amount that was greater than what's in the proposed budget," explained Kruea.

But for Brown, there weren't many other options.

"We need additional funding. Its never been enough," said Brown.

As the city works through the budget, it will be another factor for council members to consider.

"It's a difficult decision the city has to make when they're putting a budget together and saying, 'We'll fund this, and this to this point, or we can't fund this,'" said Kruea.

"We want to stay. We want to save them. We want to care for them. We want to get them adopted. But we can't do that without funding," said Brown.

This is based on the city's current proposed budget. If the city doesn't give the Grand Strand Humane Society extra money, then Brown says the next step would be to try and raise $150,000 on their own.

The fundraising efforts have already started. If you would like to donate, you can stop by the humane society or mail to 3241  Mr. Joe White Avenue in Myrtle Beach. If you live in the city, then you can donate through the RAIN program when you pay your utility bill.

The Humane Society is encouraging people to contact City Council members to show support for the city funding request by sending e-mails and calling:

Mayor Rhodes: - 843-918-1004

Mike Lowder 843-457-2329

Susan Grissom Means

Dr. Philip Render

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