Noted animal shelter NGO Friendicoes may have staved off a financial crisis for now but its management says that they still don't have enough for salaries, running the ambulance service for injured animals and, for the first time in three decades of their existence, have had to refuse attending to ailing animals.
Just a week ago, the NGO sent out an SOS to the public to help prevent its closure due to severe debt struggles.
“We never say no to animals,” said Piya Sharma, who takes care of social media and communications for the NGO “However, for the first time in 30 years, we are forced to refuse because we simply don’t have the space or the money."
The combined efforts of civilians across the country have helped the animal shelter, which relies solely on contributions, raise just over Rs 33 lakh, in addition to several donations made in kind.
“We needed Rs 80 lakh just to pay off the bills (primarily of medical nature),” said Sumedha Dougall, who helped start Friendicoes with Vice President Geeta Sheshamani over 30 years ago, in an interview with HuffPost India. “We are very grateful to everyone who has chipped in, because for now it was enough to not shut us down,” she said.
A puppy from animal shelter Friendicoes
Though some money is coming in, its volume has slowed down to a mere trickle – a discouraging discovery for the NGO that still requires over Rs 50 lakh to settle its expenses (all its employees have stopped withdrawing their salaries to ensure financial requirements continue to be met).
Sharma said that the organisation is in the midst of firming management plans to prevent future financial crises. “We never saw this coming,” Sharma revealed to HuffPost India. “We have been able to get by, thanks our contributors, and animal lovers. I hope this proves to people that Friendicoes is not funded by the government,” she added.
Last month, in spite of the pitiable state of their finances, Friendicoes rallied, and managed to provide shelter, food and medical relief to over 600 animals including dogs, cats, horses, cows and monkeys.