WANTED: Someone to adopt dozens of dogs and cats at the privately-run animal shelter called "A Buddy For Life" in Cecil County... or else.
"We put it out there, because it is the reality,” said Tina Bright, a shelter worker. “If we're stuck with dogs and we have absolutely no place to put them, we're going to have to put them down and it really stinks."
The group has lost its contract with Cecil County, which will begin running its own in-house shelter in Chesapeake City in July.
But any animals who can't find new owners by the end of June will be euthanized.
Edie Hardy adopted a full blue nose pit bull named "Kallie" from the nonprofit a few years ago. She claims the company has recently turned away rescue groups who have offered to save some of the dogs.
"It has been a political issue for A Buddy For Life since they got the contract,” said Hardy. “They don't like to work with rescues, necessarily. They're particular about who they like to work with and I think, at this point, it's enough of an emergency situation that they need to work with anybody who is willing to work with them."
But these part-time workers who stand to lose their jobs say they've been doing everything they can to keep the animals from losing their lives.
"We've already been taking them home so a lot of us, we're already full at home, but we're going to do what we have to do to get them out," Bright said.
"All of us have a family member that has a dog at this point. Like, every family member has a dog from here,” Jessica Haley added. “It's crazy."
Even though the county has vowed to only accept drop-offs and strays from the shelter that arrive within five days of the deadline, critics hope it will step in to save the day and the lives of any remaining pets.
"I'm ashamed of my county,” said Hardy. “I work in rescue, and I'm ashamed of the way my county has handled all of this. I realize that it's a private concern with A Buddy 4 Life being there, but ultimately it falls to the Cecil County government to protect those who can't speak for themselves, and if not the dogs and cats, then who?"
The shelter is still receiving unwanted pets each day who will also have to be relocated.
Workers say their biggest fear is for the pit bulls housed there since many people are hesitant to adopt that breed.