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Clay County animal shelter pleads for community’s help

Safe Animal Shelter says it’ll be forced to stop intake of kittens, cats without donations

A Clay County animal shelter calling for help on social media, saying "We need urgent help now!"

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – An animal shelter in Clay County is in need.

On Friday, Safe Animal Shelter posted on Facebook: “WE NEED URGENT HELP NOW!”

“We have been FLOODED with sick babies and moms! Our medical bills are becoming absolutely unmanageable and we will be forced to stop intake of kittens and cats without donations. We are lacking foster homes, volunteers, and are extremely short staffed,” the post goes on to say.

There are more than 60 animals living at the shelter in Middleburg. In total, there are more than 500 animals looking for a forever home.

Sherry Mansfield, executive director of Safe Animal Shelter, told News4Jax in an email Sunday that the coronavirus “played financial havoc” on the shelter last year. Mansfield said they lost their major fundraising events and are still playing catchup with the more than 900 kittens they took in last year.

“Spay and neuters last year cost close to $70,000, and this doesn’t include the other dogs, puppies, and cats we took in last year,” Mansfield wrote.

Mansfield said that they had more than 300 adoptions last month, which is double their monthly average, but they are down more than $30,000 for March.

“I think it’s safe to say we are in dire straits if this pattern continues,” Mansfield wrote. “We are squeezed for space with the numbers we are taking in but we can’t afford to move or add more space. We are using our building fund money now to cover our expenses.”

In the Facebook post, the shelter said it does not expect the drop-offs and abandoned kittens to slow down.

WE NEED URGENT HELP NOW! We have been FLOODED with sick babies and moms! Our medical bills are becoming absolutely...

Posted by Safe Animal Shelter on Friday, April 16, 2021

“We have so many kittens. We need more people,” said Jessica Tholen, with Safe Animal Shelter. “We are in kitten season. Does it ever end in Florida? Because I don’t feel that it does.”

Tholen said the situation weighs heavy on her heart.

“Right now, my even family life takes a hit because you end up taking them home,” she said. “I mean, I roll with six to seven kennels in the backseat of my car because we don’t have a foster home available.”

Chloe Racicot volunteers and fosters when she can.

“It breaks my heart. I try to do what I can,” she said. “Helping animals really makes me happy.”

To help, volunteer or donate go to safeanimalshelter.com.

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