PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — The sound of all her dogs barking in the morning as they get ready for feeding time is the sound of success for Danielle Giroux.
“Soon as we opened our doors,” Giroux recalled. “We filled the building.”
The president and founder of Runaways Animal Rescue in Pasco County started the shelter in 2020.
“We really focus on the most at-risk animals,” Giroux explained. “Animals that are facing euthanasia, animals with medical conditions, special needs animals.”
But recently, adoptions and donations are both significantly down.
“That affects us,” Giroux said. “So we have more animals coming in, but then not as many people adopting.”
Giroux said the shelter is at risk of closing.
The numbers don’t add up. With animals that need more, vet bills are higher, and the shelter runs out of an old church with five air conditioning units. Giroux said they spend upwards of $20,000 a month to keep the place open. The lawn care team is even doing the job for free right now.
“Every month we’re putting out more than we’re taking in,” said Giroux. “So when you look at those numbers and every time, you know, you can only go on for that for so long.”
It’s gotten so difficult, the rescue has stopped accepting new animals now too. Giroux said she will do whatever it takes to keep it going, even if she doesn’t want to — including laying off the few paid employees they have and running entirely on volunteers and her own labor.
“People might not realize that we’re feeling those effects like everybody else,” Giroux said. “I just made that GoFundMe because I wanted to be very transparent that we are struggling and that every day is a challenge.”
The rescue helps around 250 to 275 animals both inside and outside of the building, like those in foster homes. It’s only one of four brick-and-mortar shelters in Pasco County.
“If we were to go out of business,” Giroux said. “It would be really traumatic for the whole community.”
If you’d like to help out Runaways Animal Rescue, you can donate to them here.