REDMOND, Wash. - Local animal rescuers hope to reach people that have a spirit of giving this holiday season.
Motley Zoo Animal Rescue said donations for 2020 are down 80 percent compared to last year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of funding has forced the nonprofit to halt lifesaving efforts for animals.
"Charities like ours, they still need help. The demands are actually higher now," said Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo.
Motley Zoo is a non-profit headquartered in Redmond. The no-kill facility is powered by volunteers and fosters. The team rehabilitates animals from around the world, and some pets they rescue are from meat farms.
"Taking animals, dogs from that situation, where they would end up on someone’s dinner plate and instead helping them find homes as family members," said Thomas. "We just really believe that the animals are voiceless and they can’t speak for themselves. So, we have to stand up for them and do what we think is right."
Furry family members have been in high demand during the pandemic. The team hit a record of adopting out more than 400 animals and the numbers are still climbing.
"It’s amazing that we’ve adopted out more animals, but with that also comes more demand and more vet bills. So, this year has been immensely challenging," said Thomas.
The executive director said they pay about $15,000 a month in veterinary bills. Usually the Motley Zoo daycare would cover those bills if donations were low, which they currently are. Since people working from home aren’t using the daycare as much, Motley Zoo is hardly making any money. So, Thomas said they had to stop all animal rescue services for the first time since opening in 2009.
"It was devastating because our core belief is that all animals are more valuable than a vet bill. And to have to say no because we just couldn’t afford it, it’s a position we don’t want to be in," said Thomas.
The rock-and-roll themed organization would have hosted fundraising concerts and adoption events. However, that money isn’t coming in either because the events were cancelled to reduce coronavirus exposure. Thomas estimates their donations are down $200,000 this year compared to last year.
"I think a lot of charities can’t survive what’s happening and people really have to remember that if a cause means something to you, you need to step up," said Thomas.
Stepping up with a spirit of giving this holiday season is how supporters can keep Motley Zoo alive. The more funding they receive, the more opportunities to find an animal its forever home.
"They don’t know COVID, they don’t know it’s the holiday, they don’t know if you’re busy or not. They just know when they have love and when they don’t. And we really just want people to remember that they need you," said Thomas.
Motley Zoo has plans to travel to Thailand to save more dogs from a meat farm. Thomas said they will make the trip as soon as travel restrictions are lifted and enough funding is available.