LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Laurens County Humane Society is at risk of closing if it does not raise enough money to stay open.

The nonprofit organization opened in 2015 and relies on donations and pet adoptions to stay open. The humane society’s co-director, Jill Mechling, told 7NEWS they have been struggling since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“The donations are down,” said Mechling. “Expenses went up. There’s such a need in Laurens County that we took in more animals than we were budgeted and had space for.  It has just snowballed in the last six months.”

According to Mechling, the humane society’s expenses are between $15,000 and $18,000 each month. However, she said they are only bringing in about half of that money.

If the organization does not receive help, Mechling said they will have to close their doors at the end of January.

“We’ll reevaluate if we can stay open longer,” said Mechling. “We may have to cut back our budget by taking in less animals or using more foster homes, whatever we can do to stay open to help the community.”

If the humane society closes, Mechling said there won’t be many options for animals that are abandoned. She explained neighboring counties’ humane societies do not accept pets from other counties. Dogs in Laurens County would have to be picked up by animal control, and there would be no place for cats to go in the county.

“The cats don’t have anywhere else to go,” said Jennifer Bixler, a humane society employee. “Animal control doesn’t really do anything for them.”

The humane society’s staff hopes their doors can stay open.

“Everybody truly has a goal of taking care of all of the babies that are here,” said Bixler. “We do a lot more to try and make sure they get homes and let them stay as long as they can to find them a home.”

How to donate

Anyone interested in donating to the Laurens County Humane Society can learn more by visiting their website.