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This article was published 1/10/2014 (2543 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
There were lights on at Craig Street Cats no-kill shelter tonight but executive director Lynne Scott said it could go dark at any moment.
Scott said the shelter has no money coming in and is three months behind and $1,200 in arrears in payments to Manitoba Hydro due to a Hydro substation construction project that has ripped up Madison Street in the Polo Park area where her shelter is located.
The Hydro project, which began in July and is expected to conclude in November, has severely hampered access to the not-for-profit organization feline shelter. Its revenue streams and donations have dried up, cat adoptions have ground to a halt and the shelter has lost about $40,000 in revenue.
Though she has communicated her hardships to Manitoba Hydro, the company wants to be paid and is threatening disconnection of electrical and gas services at Craig Street Cats.
"I’m heartbroken," Scott said. "We’re struggling here. We’ve been told that unless we can tell Hydro when they can expect payment, we should start looking for somewhere else for the cats. There is simply nowhere else for our cats to go and no way for us to predict when will have the money to pay our bill."
There are 230 cats living at Craig Street Cats right now, about 80 more than usual due to the drop in adoptions.
Before the Hydro project began, Scott said she spoke with Hydro officials and told them the construction was going to make it difficult for people to access the non-profit shelter and that the financial hardship caused by their project would likely force the shelter to close.
When she got her Hydro bill on Wednesday, she called Hydro again to explain there’s no money coming in and to ask what can be done.
"I was told that unless we can give them a date as to when they can expect payment, we should be looking for new places for the cats because they’ll be shutting off our power," Scott said.
Scott said that’s not the only economic adversity the shelter is facing.
"The Hydro bill is just one of the bills that we can’t pay. We have rent to pay, phones, internet, vets, and payroll, none of those things can be paid," said Scott, who employs one part-time and three full-time employees. "They’re behind one pay period."
Scott said she was "up front" about the situation and told them to do what they need to do.
"Thank God, they’ve decided to stay. We have an amazing staff," Scott said.
A Hydro spokesman said he could not discuss an individual customer account but said disconnection of services is "a last resort after a lot of contact" and that "disconnection is a pretty serious matter."
Scott said she hopes there is help in the community for her shelter and that possibly private citizens could assist with donations and cat food.
"That’s our only hope right now," said Scott, who has been running Craig Street Cats since 2007 and working at her current location for the past two years. "I know it’s hard to get here but we hope people will search for our back lane and find us."
If you’d like to help Craig Street Cats, stop by 489 Madison St. or email Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to its website at www.craigstcats.ca.