The Valley Humane Society has received $175,000 in donations since announcing last week that it might have to shut down operations and lay off staff without an immediate infusion of $125,000 by month's end, its executive director said yesterday.
"We received one check for $125,000 Saturday and deposited it Monday, so we're waiting for it to clear," said VHS Director Melanie Sadek.
"But even with these contributions, the Valley Humane Society is still in need of ongoing community support," she added. "Before we launched our SOS campaign we were on the verge of bankruptcy."
"Now that it looks as if we have reached that $125,000 goal, we are hoping to secure the shelter beyond that one month mark," Sadek said. "This will allow us to implement a number of coordinated fundraising events and education programs which should start to put us in a more fiscally healthy situation."
Because of the sagging economy, the animal shelter saw its donation totals dip 30% so far this year after dropping 25% in 2010. Tied with an increased demand for pet care and shelter from people losing their homes, this put the shelter in a financial bind.
"Community members realized the urgency," Sadek said, and stepped up to help the struggling animal shelter.
"We've had little kids come up and give us a dollar out of their piggy bank," Sadek said. "I never thought we would get this response from the community."
Several local businesses, including Round Table Pizza and Pet Food Express, are hosting promotions to raise donations for the center.
Sadek did not notify her staff or volunteers of the shelter's financial troubles until last week before the public announcement and found it hardest to tell her volunteers. Sadek said that, for some, the center is a second home.
But the staff of six and the 250-person volunteer crew never hung their heads.
"They all rallied. Failure was not an option for anybody," Sadek said. "No one really accepted that we wouldn't be able to stay open."
Part of the fundraising effort involved offering new educational courses that included Scout camps, corporate development and veterinary health and wellness courses.
Sadek's goal is for these courses to become a major portion of the center's continuous fundraising. The shelter is also planning a Halloween event and a dog walk to raise money.
Sadek hopes "to [make a better shelter than we had before."
The shelter moved into a new 5,200-square-foot facility in May, a new building along with the land it sits on Nevada Street that was made possible by a donation by the late Joyce Keeler of Livermore.
The humane society has an operating budget of $500,000 and has been open since 1987. It serves the Tri-Valley area, which includes Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore, but has taken in animals from all over the Bay Area.