Maine Animal Shelter in Danger of Shutting Down

An animal shelter in Waterville, Maine is in danger of shutting down by December unless it can raise a quarter of a million dollars.

"It's a wake up call," Lisa Oakes, President of the Board of Directors for the Humane Society Waterville Area, said. "It's not just a scare tactic, it's the truth."

The Humane Society is launching a capital campaign Monday to help improve its dire financial situation. It will accept donations in person and online.

Oakes said the board realized about six months ago that shelter operations were not sustainable. They have not had an executive director of fundraising for months, and have been relying upon a small donor base.

Some recent bad publicity has not helped the shelter either.

There was a feline distemper outbreak.

Then there was the case of Dakota, a dangerous Huskie that Governor LePage tried to pardon and was then mistakenly adopted and caught up in a court battle.

Then two dangerous pit bulls mysteriously "disappeared" from shelter custody moments before they were supposed to be put down. Shelter leadership has since changed.

"We lost many volunteers, unfortunately... we did lose donations," Oakes said. "We really want to turn that around and show that we're moving forward and really building trust back."

The need is great. The Waterville shelter takes in more than 2,000 animals and has a 97 percent adoption rate. If the HSWA closes, it will put more of a burden on surrounding shelters.

"There would definitely be a ripple effect," Oakes said.

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