The North East SPCA in Melfort is at risk of closing its doors for good, just three years after it opened.

Board chair Pat Shiels said the timing was unfortunate. Shiels recalled the opening of the facility in late 2019.

“Five months later it was COVID, so that took away for a long time all of our volunteers,” she said.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of countless events over the last two years, according to Shiels, including fundraisers, which are the lifeblood of non-profits like the SPCA. This forced them to float their costs as bills continued piling up, she said.

With more than two years without being able to raise funds, Shiels said their location is only just hanging on.

“There’s always a chance that we could close the doors because right now. It's like paycheque to paycheque,” she said, adding that it’s not just the SPCA that’s having trouble recruiting volunteers and raising funds.

“Even before COVID, it was really difficult because I think every family has a two-person working income now. So to find anybody that has time during the day to come and take care of the animals, it's next to impossible.”

With the return of some fundraisers this summer like the Chase the Ace event starting July 7th, Shiels said there is hope to get representatives from more of the communities they serve to jump on board.

However, she said it’s not just one solution they need to stay open.

“I think it’s hand in hand, it’s the funding and the volunteers,” she said.

“Because to find the funding, we need volunteers. We need people that can go out to the big businesses and give them a pitch.”

The North East SPCA’s territory includes 25 communities and 16 rural municipalities in northeast Saskatchewan. They currently have just five of 14 board member positions filled.