Tucson’s Only No-Kill Shelter Struggles to Keep the Lights On

With 100 dogs and cats in its care, HOPE Animal Shelter is fundraising to ward off closing its doors.


Tucson is on the verge of losing something that it can’t afford to lose: its only no-kill animal shelter.

This weekend, HOPE Animal Shelter Executive Director Susan Scherl took to the group’s Facebook page, asking for donations to help keep the doors open and the lights on:

It is with deep regret and profound sadness to inform you that HOPE is out of money. Without your help we will have to shut our doors. We are down to the bare bones and I will have to start letting staff go. The hardest part will be finding a place for the 100 animals currently in our care….. In our 8 years of existence we have never been at this point. Please understand that this couldn’t be more serious.

It’s unknown how the financial crisis came about, but according to a Tucson television station, the shelter has been running primarily on donations and Susan Scherl’s own dedication. To keep things going, she’s refinanced her own home and maxed out her credit cards. “I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life,” Susan said in an interview with KGUN. “It’s a very special place.”

HOPE currently houses about 100 dogs and cats. The expenses to cover those animals comes to about $10,000 per month for the veterinary expenses alone; another $3,000 for rent; and a couple of thousand go for food and cat litter.

“We’re scared,” Scherl said to a reporter. In the video, she tries to go further than that, to say what she’s scared of, but the words don’t come, and she just ends with that single blunt statement, the consequences implied by the dangling silence.

No-kill animal shelters have become far more common than they used to be, but they’re still not universal. The question of where HOPE’s animals will go, should the shelter have to close, is a heavy one. For now, we wish Susan and her staff luck in keeping the doors open. If you want to help them through donations, you can do so at HOPE’s website.


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