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Kingston Humane Society struggling amid coronavirus pandemic

Kingston Humane Society facing uncertainty during COVID-19 restrictions
COVID-19 is causing a drop in donations to the Kingston Humane Society

The Kingston Humane Society, like many charities and Canadian households, is facing uncertain financial times in light of the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions that necessarily come with trying to halt the spread of COVID-19.

That uncertainty for people out of work or fearing a layoff could heavily impact the organization’s bottom line, says the society’s executive director Gord Hunter.

“Seventy per cent of our revenue comes from the support of the public, who give us donations. Those donations are critical to us continuing to operate.”

READ MORE: Kingston Humane Society supports provincial animal welfare legislation

At the year’s start, the Humane Society was predicting a surplus of $5,000 in its $1.7-million budget.

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An online auction has been delayed until summer and two spring fundraisers that usually account for about $40,000 have been cancelled, putting that surplus into question.

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The charity’s executive director says the public has stepped up to lessen the blow.

“We received nearly $25,000 in donations in a week’s time. I get a little emotional about it because, to be honest with you, it was incredible.”

Another hit for the charity was the cancellation of adoptions on March 25.

Hunter says again supporters stepped up.

“We had our supporters and our volunteers step up to foster nearly 80 animals within a period of a couple of days.”

READ MORE: Hundreds of animal lovers help Kingston Humane Society find new homes for dogs

Currently, the Humane Society only has animals that are involved in investigations and strays brought in by animal control officers.

The space created through fostering may be needed if adoption restrictions continue into June, Hunter says.

“We start seeing a lot of kittens and cats.”

That would add to the list of costs the Humane Society has to deal with, like keeping the lights on, food and emergency surgeries.

It could all leave a charity that has served the community since 1884 facing a deficit in 2020.