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Puyallup animal shelter to shut down after financial hit from coronavirus pandemic

Sunny Sky's Animal Rescue has been helping cats and dogs for 20 years. The nonprofit will soon close its facility, after losing donations and volunteers.

PUYALLUP, Wash. — Sunny Sky's Animal Rescue and Hospital has saved cats and dogs in Puyallup for 20 years, but now the nonprofit is struggling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and will have to make major changes.

The animal rescue is running out of money as well as losing volunteers because some are at high risk for the virus and have to stay at home.

Due to the financial impact of coronavirus, Sunny Sky's Animal Rescue has decided to close its hospital and shelter on East Main Avenue by May 31. The facility costs $35,000 to 40,000 a month to operate. 

"It is really sad to have to do that, but unfortunately, there is just a snowball effect," said Jessica Mele, who has worked at the shelter for the last 10 years.

The focus now is on finding foster homes for the cats and dogs currently at the shelter. Sunny Sky's Animal Rescue also will change the way it rescues animals. The organization plans to switch over to a foster-based rescue.

"We get emotionally involved with every animal that comes in and out of these doors, and not being able to do the rescue was too much for us so we had to sacrifice something," Mele said.

While Sunny Sky's has applied for various loans and for assistance through the CARES Act, but so far have not received any aid, Mele said.

The nonprofit's Facebook page shows the cats and dogs have been saved. Some came from overflowing, out-of-state shelters.

"I think not having the physical shelter that you can come visit, and not having the hospital is a huge thing," Mele said

Volunteer Patsy Herzog is worried about what it will mean for the animals.

"It scares me to death," Herzog said.

The community is weighing in, offering gratitude for what the shelter has done and donations too. An online fundraiser was started to help the animal rescues continue.

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