Abandoned animals could be left homeless if funds are not raised to save the Preston branch of the RSPCA.Advertisement
Staff numbers at the rescue centre in Ribbleton have already been reduced as a safeguard against closure after donations fell last year.
The Preston and District branch, which receives no government funding, is reliant on money left in wills by members of the public.
Staff are now appealing for more donations to get their services back on track.
Preston RSPCA Chairwoman, Maureen Hindle, said: “We’ve lost five staff members in total and have had to make reductions and cut costs like everyone else in the current climate.
“We do rely heavily on legacies and unfortunately last year we didn’t get as much as we would normally anticipate.”
In 2008, £375,000 was left to the branch in a will, but by the end of September 2010 just £47,762 was left.
More than half of the 66 kennels at Ribbleton have been closed in an effort to save money on heating and lighting. The dogs have been moved to neighbouring RSPCA branches.
The vet centre on Lancaster Road, which provides treatment for pets with owners who are on benefits, will also be affected if funds do not increase.
Maureen said: “In a worst case scenario, if we had no more donations in, we would only be able to remain open for another three or four months.”
While the kennel closures and staff cuts will save an estimated £110,300 a year, more funds are needed to help the charity’s animal welfare work.
Maureen said that the remaining staff, who currently care for 27 dogs, 26 cats, five rabbits and three ferrets, would be “made up” if donations increased.
“They could then look at reopening the kennels and making improvements to help as many animals as they can,” she added.
Donations can be made via cash or cheque at the Preston RSPCA Animal Centre or by signing up to the Safe Haven scheme from as little as £3 per month. They would also appreciate donations of food and toys.
Those looking to volunteer are also welcome to contact the centre. For more details, visit www. rspca-preston.org.uk.