Decreasing donations put Bamberg "no-kill" shelter in a tough spot

BAMBERG, SC (WIS) - A Bamberg "no-kill" animal shelter is in dire straits as 75 dogs could go hungry without the community's help.

The Mary Ann Morris Animal Society's Shelter is running out of food and money. Without help, the dogs' futures could be in jeopardy.

"We just need help," said shelter worker Ruthie Rish. "It's kind of pitiful."

Rish and the rest of the staff do what they can with what they've got -- which isn't much. Usually, they depend on donations of pedigreed dog food to help keep their canine guests fed. This month, that donation isn't coming.

"This month they don't have anything for us, so we're scraping to see what we can find elsewhere," said Rish.

To add insult to injury, the shelter's still trying to recover from a storm that tore apart several kennels. They have wood donated for repairs, but no volunteers to help them build.

"It's kind of like a perfect storm coming together to create an almost overwhelming situation for us," said Rish.

"Even though our shelter doesn't look so great, I feel that we're a big success because with very little we were able to save a lot of dogs last year," added shelter worker Bonnie Milliken.

That's not boasting, either. Milliken says the shelter was able to save 537 dogs last year. That success rate is despite decreased donations and a spike in animals being dropped off.

"People sometimes throw puppies over the fence if you can believe it, or just leave them outside," said Milliken. "We've seen puppies left outside in the middle of the winter."

This winter could bring tough decisions. If they don't get help, Rish says the "no-kill" rule might have to be dropped.

"It just makes it harder and harder for us, but we're not going to give up. Until we absolutely have to," said Milliken.

If you would like to donate to the shelter, the address is PO Box 1151, Bamberg, SC 29003.

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