Georgia SPCA may close shelter; cites struggling economy

The animal shelter, based in Suwanee, cites the struggling economy for a dramatic drop in donations and corporate sponsorship. One of its largest sponsors pulled out funding that largely supported the organization, said Jane Stewart, operations manager. The rescue group has also taken on more animals in the past several months because of flooding and people losing their homes, as well as others who no longer are able to afford animal care.

"We can't keep up," said Joan Sammond, executive director of GSPCA. "We do a lot to help out in the state, including helping with cruelty issues and animal rescue. But the bottom line is, if we don't have funds to operate, we can't keep going."

The GSPCA, which does not receive state funding, needs $25,000 to $30,000 a month to run, Sammond said. As of late November, the nonprofit only has enough money to last through the end of the year.

"We haven't thrown in the towel," Stewart said. "We'll take whatever we can get."

Stewart said while the nonprofit aims to save as many animals as possible from euthanasia at overcrowded animal shelters, she worries most about the animals currently in the GSPCA's care if it no longer can operate from its adoption center in Suwanee.

"We can't bear the thought of not being able to take care of them," she said.

Sammond said if the nonprofit can no longer afford its leased space, it will likely turn to foster-based work. That, however, would greatly diminish the ability to solicit volunteers who currently work at the adoption center and also hinder the group's efforts to place animals in new homes. Since opening the center in July 2007, the GSPCA has placed more than 2,400 pets with families, she said.

"The adoption center has been the heart of the organization. It gives people a way to volunteer, to have a place to go," she said. "If we're not here, we can't help as many people and animals."

The public can help by donating money or supplies, including food (the shelter uses Purina One), litter (clay-based is preferred), toys, towels and cleaning products. Learn more by visiting www.georgiaspca.org.