FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — The fate of the animals at the HOPE Humane Society in Fort Smith was uncertain until now.
HOPE'S board of directors met behind closed doors Wednesday (May 22) night to discuss the shelter's future.
Ununless, something drastically changes in the next several weeks the shelter will be forced to close its doors on July 17th.
The number one priority is getting the more than 300 dogs and less than 50 cats to safety.
"We have a mortgage on our property. That note comes due to July 17th and without a sustainable funding source or bank, Bancorp South, is unwilling to refinance our debt, and that's why this issue is really coming to a head now," said HOPE Vice President Storm Nolan.
Nolan says they are working on transporting the remaining animals to no-kill shelters and rescues around the country.
HOPE is contractually obligated to take in animals for the city until the end of May, but until a new impounding solution is found, animal control services will be suspended, and stray animals will remain homeless.
"If it's a public welfare and safety issue it would then need to go to the police department, but we will not be handling stray animals for the foreseeable future," said Fort Smith City Administrator Carl Geffken.
An organization in Ontario, Canada, has already promised to take in all of the shelters non-pit-mixes.
While the pit-bull type dogs will be taken to a rescue out of the Pacific Northwest.
Nolan says when that's done the wishes of HOPE's board of directors is to become a small-scale animal rescue organization, possibly continuing transport services, and persuading city leaders to adopt ordinances to address the problem of overpopulation.
"These are all dogs and cats that belong to somebody and a solution of euthanizing them after holding them for 3-5 days, I don't think our community would get behind that," Nolan said.
HOPE humane society is asking for your help.
Donations are needed to help transport the remaining animals to safety before July 17th.
If you would like to donate click here.
The Fort Smith City Board of Directors are touring a building on Saturday that could become the new animal control facility.
Residents of Fort Smith have started a petition online, hoping to persuade the city board of directors to change their minds.
It already has over 2,400 signatures.