San-Lee Humane Society
shut down last week after months of struggling with expenses, but the shelter will not be closed for good because volunteers have a plan.
"I feel the animals in Lee County as a whole have suffered and are continuing to suffer because of the lack of a shelter here in the facility," said Kelly Wright, president of the San-Lee Humane Society.
Volunteers took the remaining cats and dogs to the Animal Rescue League in Boston for adoption. Officials said a slim Lee County budget and public donations were not enough to keep the shelter going. For the next year, the society will try to raise the money it needs to reopen.
"It's becomes very obvious to us that we're not going to be able to strictly depend on the public donations. It's a matter of having grants and public donations," Wright said.
It takes up to $6,000 to keep the shelter running at full capacity, which includes 40 cats and dogs. Even though the facility is closed, officials said the mortgage, insurance and other utilities still have to be paid, which can cost up to $1,200 a month.
"We're eager to begin a lot of fund-raising and a lot of public awareness to let them know what our mission is," animal activist Rebecca Egbert said.
The Humane Society plans to continue its spay and neuter program and will still try to match people with homeless animals. Although the building may be empty, volunteers say their mission to save helpless animals has not changed.
Lee County commissioners have voted to buy other land to build a new animal shelter, but it will not be a "no-kill" facility. It will actually cost less than renovating the old facility. For now, stray animals in Lee County will be taken to a shelter in Chatham County.