Fresno County sanctuary Cat Haven struggles during COVID-19 shutdown

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As many non-essential businesses anxiously wait to re-open, the Cat Haven in Fresno County has been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

Rising food costs, together with the prospect of an extended shutdown has officials feeling the pinch.

But without any money coming in, founder Dale Anderson is concerned what the future may look like for the sanctuary and the more than three dozen cats that live here.

"I can't turn the power off, I can't turn the water off, I can't turn the insurance off. I still got employees with workman's comp. You have all those costs with these things and nothing can change because I still have the animals to take care of on a regular basis," Anderson says.

This time of year is typically the Cat Haven's busy time.

Springtime school field trips and revenue generated from weekend visitors will usually carry the Cat Haven through the summer but social distancing has taken a toll on the sanctuary's bottom line and has forced Anderson to dip into the facility's reserve fund while the gates remain closed.

"This school called and canceled and this school called and canceled and this school said, We can't do anything until April 13th, we're going to have to postpone till then'. And then the off sites started getting canceled. Then you're looking at the board that was completely full until June and is now completely empty as far as school programs go. Our reserves are low and now we're hitting right at a time when things are supposed to be picking up and we get hit even worse than we would be during our normal winter season," says Anderson.

Despite making cutbacks, Anderson says the cost to operate the privately-funded Cat Haven is still around $20,000 a month.

This includes paying his staff along with providing for the animals' quality of life - and don't forget the 125 pounds of food they consume on a daily basis.

"We still have to buy vitamins and supplements and we have cats that are older and they're on pain meds for arthritis and things like that. You can't just drop the meds and say sorry you're going to have to go without today."

If you'd like to help out, go to Cathaven.com or their Facebook page for information on how you can support the facility.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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