Thousands of desperate animal lovers have joined an urgent plea for the NSW government to save Sydney’s only charity from permanent closure.
Sydney Dogs and Cats Home will not be able to remain open unless it grants the $9 million in funding it was denied by the state government after filing earlier this year.
The multimillion-dollar cash injection would have allowed the organization to leave its temporary facilities in Strathfield and Austral and move to a new purpose-built facility.
The organization, which serves more than 100 suburbs in eight municipalities, was awarded just $500,000 — enough to cover operating costs this fiscal year alone.
The charity, along with hundreds of people it has helped, have called for the funding rejection to be reversed at 11 a.m. so the important work can continue.
General manager Melissa Penn said the center is unlikely to survive the next 12 months without urgent funding to begin construction of the new facility.
Staying at the two temporary sites was not financially viable as a long-term option, Ms. Penn said, and this significantly reduces the charity’s capacity to take on animals from other shelters.
“Our future is at stake,” she said.
When the charity asked the state government for help 12 months ago, it was given a low rent and told it would support future construction costs.
In June, however, the state government told the charity that it would not award the $9 million grant, but would instead hand over funding that would take a year to burn through.
“It was just a small operating grant and provided a very short-term solution. There are real problems for us without that funding,” Ms. Penn said.
In response to the state government’s rejection of funding, the organization launched an online campaign with the message “save our hideout” and asked the community to sign a petition pledging their support.
“We really need this security so the animals can have a future,” said Ms. Penn.
The organization eagerly awaits the outcome of a review of the state government’s original decision, which will be announced in the next two to four weeks.
However, as more time passes, logistics become more difficult to coordinate.
Construction of the new facility will take nine to 12 months as construction and material costs continue to rise.
“The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets. We need this from the government quickly,” said Ms. Penn.
“We now need funding so that we can start the project quickly. The sooner the better.”
More than 7,000 people have pledged their support online, with hundreds of others begging NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet for the decision to be reversed.
Among those throwing their weight behind the case are Australian actor Hugh Sheridan, Mamamia’s Mia Freedman and bachelor party against Millie Rubio.
The Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has been around since 1946 and is Sydney’s only charity.
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