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Santa Fe animal shelter’s financial future in question

September 30, 2018

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New numbers are raising questions about the financial health of one of Santa Fe’s most beloved and critical institutions.

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter & Humane Society was flush with cash at the close of 2012, but it has been drawing down its investment accounts to help cover operating losses that have totaled more than $7 million from 2014 through 2017, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported .

The shelter has also been cutting employees and other expenses so no services need to be eliminated, said the shelter’s Executive Director Jennifer Steketee and other members of the shelter’s board of directors.

The shelter has worked to bring down its operating loss from $2.5 million in 2015 to $1.2 million in 2017, and it’s projected to break even this year.

The shelter prides itself on being an open-admission, no-kill shelter. It’s a level of care the community has come to expect, Steketee said, but it’s not without a large price tag.

“We have been working feverishly to make this dream sustainable, and we are just about there.”

However, former board members such as Glenn Levant have questioned in recent months the shelter’s finances and sustainability.

“Their budget was close to $8 million a year. And at the rate they were burning money, it looked to me like, without a fundraising strategy, they were going to be out of business and the animals were going to suffer,” Levant said in a recent interview.

The shelter’s audited financial figures show a decline in revenue for three consecutive years, reaching a low of $4.7 million before picking back up in 2016 and 2017. Revenues totaled nearly $6.1 million last year.

Meanwhile, contributions and grants have continued to fall since 2013.

The shelter’s audited financial numbers for 2017 and the projections for 2018 show the shelter is on the right track after cutting back on staff and combining some upper-level jobs, Steketee said.

The veterinary hospital has also helped by becoming profitable.

“We are now running a sustainable operation and organization without relying on previous large donations,” Steketee said. “In short, we have stabilized our financial picture with the new facility and its extraordinary operations.”

The president of the shelter’s board of director, Jan Ballew, also feels confident about the shelter’s financial future.

“Absolutely, we are sustainable,” she said.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.santafenewmexican.com

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