(Photo Credit: Eleventh Hour Rescue)
Imagine you are running a business with a huge inventory when suddenly you lose your lease and are faced with having to liquidate that inventory and find a new location…all within 30 days. That scenario would be difficult for anyone, but it’s a disaster for Eleventh Hour Rescue, a group that has been running an adoption program called Everyday Adoption Center out of the Mount Olive, New Jersey PetSmart for four many years, and has a living, breathing inventory to worry about.
EHR is a no-kill shelter and they won’t be putting their animals in any place that would allow for such, but the organization is in trouble and making a plea for boarding homes and shelters in the area to house their animals.
The end of the relationship – September 25 – came as a complete surprise to the group. On Monday, August 25 the all-volunteer animal rescue and adoption agency received a letter from PetSmart Charities stating that its years-long contract to house cats and dogs at the Mount Olive location would come to an end – and quickly, just 30 days after the notice was sent.
PetSmart Charities Media Relations Manager Steve Pawlowski was contacted and only said that the contract between the two parties had expired and the business had “elected not to renew the agreement.” When further pressed, Pawlowski said the reason the Everyday Adoption Center will be closing is for remodeling, and he declined to say what the remodeled space would be used for or to explain why EHR was given only 30 days to vacate despite their asking for more time.
Volunteer president and founder of Eleventh Hour Rescue Linda Schiller says that she was “blindsided” by the news. Her group has been working with PetSmart for about a decade and she believed it was a good partnership. They worked in another location before a new one was opened in Flanders with the Everyday Adoption Center built in. The company invited EHR to use it four years ago.
With limited options and very little time left, Schiller took to the groups Facebook page with a detailed post that quickly got 1000 likes and has already been shared by more than 6000 people.
In her post, Schiller also appealed to followers, asking them to take in some of the animals that need homes. Since that post, the rescue has gotten several applications to foster animals but many more are needed. Eleventh Hour Rescue has found good homes for more than 10,000 animals over the past four years, many of whom were placed through the Mount Olive, New Jersey PetSmart location.
With 50,000 Facebook friends and many homes in the area who have adopted and fostered their rescues, EHR and Schiller are still hoping for a change of heart by PetSmart, but says her group remains committed to rescuing animals and helping them find their forever homes. After her heartfelt Facebook message came out, a Change.org petition launched, asking signees to boycott PetSmart. That petition already has more than 2500 signatures.
We share many Eleventh Hour animals on our social media pages for DogTime and Save a Dog and will continue to do so as well as sharing this story to help get the word out about Eleventh Hours desperate situation. What’s important now is that we help these dogs find foster and permanent homes as soon as possible. 30 days is not nearly enough time to make this kind of move but the animal rescue community is always very supportive and we know that you will do your part in sharing this story and getting the word out.
Longtime EHR volunteer Roger Keyser isn’t sure what will happen next, but says “We value loyalty, we value partnerships. This isn’t the way that you treat partners.”
(From the Eleventh Hour Facebook Page)