Most of the money for the new building on Nevada Street next to the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department headquarters was donated by the late Joyce Keeler, a Livermore school teacher who died in 2005. It was designated specifically for the building. However, a confluence of declining contributions and increased demand as the recession took hold in 2009 has left VHS without sufficient funds to operate the larger, more costly facility.
So at a time when leaders of the Humane Society had planned a festive community dedication of their new headquarters building, they find themselves, instead, pleading for financial help and facing closing down the nonprofit.
The organization's recently hired Executive Director Melanie Sadek, who worked with the VHS board of directors to sort out the funding dilemma, said the organization urgently needs a cash infusion of $125,000 to continue its services through November, when contributions traditionally start to increase.
Tuesday, Sadek sent the following email message to supporters:
"I wanted to send you this letter to share some alarming news about the state of Valley Humane Society. At this time, the organization is suffering a major financial shortage due to the decrease in donations and the increase in operating expenses. This week we are sending out an appeal to the community for assistance. I felt it necessary, however, to inform you about our situation before you heard it through the media.
"As a supporter of Valley Humane Society, I would like to ask you to be an ambassador for our cause. Your value to our organization is immeasurable. I know that with your help we can pull through this dire situation.
"Please help us by passing on the message in the flyer below to friends, family members, community groups, religious institutions and all social media outlets. Your support makes a major difference to Valley Humane Society. This is your organization and without you there wouldn't be a VHS."
VHS, staffed largely by volunteers, is the only no-kill shelter in Pleasanton. It receives no local, state or federal funding and has always relied on community donations to survive.
In a joint statement signed by Sadek and Lori Rice, president of the VHS board of directors, VHS said it has already reduced by half the number of animals cared for by the organization's staff and volunteers.
"If VHS doesn't receive significant funding in the next 30 days, we will be force to cut staff and programming, after which our final option will be to close the shelter," the statement reads. "These measures will directly affect the hundreds of cats and dogs in the Tri-Valley and thousands of residents who depend on our programs."
A monetary donation of any amount can be made by visiting the organization's website at www.valleyhumane.org. Donations also will be accepted over the counter or by mail at the VHS headquarters, 3670 Nevada St., Pleasanton, CA 94566.
For more information, visit the website or call 426-8656.