Safe Haven must have a real solution to survive

Stop us if you have heard this one before.

Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary is set to close. Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary is staying open.

A few weeks ago we were alerted to the possibility that Safe Haven, facing extreme financial duress, would be closing the doors to its 19,500-square-foot no-kill animal sanctuary in Georgetown. We asked a few questions and were assured that this was not the case.

End of story. Move on to the next one.

Then, earlier this week, an announcement was made by Safe Haven that they would indeed be shutting down on Aug. 30, and asking people to be on the lookout for good homes for the animals they have staying on their property. Then, the next day, an announcement came out that Safe Haven indeed has “a future” and they will be “deferring closure and will continue to operate and to perform duties under the dog control contract with Kent County.”

We understand that a no-kill shelter comes with numerous costs that a shelter without that policy might not incure, ranging from food to staff to litter. It can’t be easy, and Safe Haven has been soliciting funds over a period of time that coincided with one of the worst economic recessions this nation has ever known. When people don’t have money, they are usually less able to make financial contributions to any cause.

We empathize with those who have been working tirelessly to make this project a reality. However, we would have to think that the constant rumors about staying open or shutting their doors also has a huge impact on fundraising efforts. If you only have a finite amount of money to donate, would you go with the project that might not be around, or the one that has stood the test of time and appears to be solid?

According to their prepared statement, “Under our dog contract, Safe Haven has adopted out over 400 dogs and cats who would have almost certainly been euthanized under the previous contractors. For Safe Haven to continue to protect, rehabilitate, medicate, socialize and re-home animals we must have community support.”

We would venture that to garner that community support, Safe Haven officials must reach out to the community and outline their plans. Hold public meetings, send out information to local media and basically extend conversation with anyone who will listen regarding how this project can continue to be possible into the future.

That will get community support if the plan is sound. And, with that support, contributions will follow. We are rooting for Safe Haven, but hope they take the right steps forward.