The Blue Cross Center in Cambridge is slated to close later this month as the charity pushes to save money.
Three other centers across the country will also close on June 30, with all 10 employees being laid off.
The closure of the Cat Adoption Center on Garlic Row – which has been around town for nearly 90 years – comes despite nearly 13,000 people signing a petition to the rescue on Change.org.
The association is now planning to sell the property, which offers space for around 50 cats and kittens.
A new housing, behavior and counseling unit for all animals is being created to replace it, although volunteers have said it won’t open for 12 to 18 months and will likely be in a different location in the county. The charity said it was working to identify a permanent site and how it would be endowed with resources.
“The new facility will offer expert behavioral support to pet owners who have difficulty with their pets, as well as experts to assist people and their pets,” said Chris Burgess, CEO of Blue Cross, in a letter to the Staff who confirmed the closure.
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He said the closure was “an incredibly difficult decision” but “the best one for the future of our charity that will allow us to help more pets”.
An employee living in bonded housing was told that after 30 years of working for the charity, he had to move, although Blue Cross said it would work to keep someone from becoming homeless.
The Blue Cross has cited the pandemic’s financial impact as the reason for the closings, but volunteers and staff say they saw no evidence of this in the household during the consultation period.
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Mr Burgess added: “The plans in the region are part of a broader UK strategy to redesign and expand our services to put Blue Cross on a more secure financial footing as we aim to save £ 1 million this year, and we are in the process help achieve our vision that no pet or owner can do without help.
“These plans were accelerated by the pandemic, which not only required significant changes in the way we work, but also the opportunities that new ways of working can bring.”
In a three-year strategy released in February 2021, the charity announced that it had cut costs by £ 6 million in 2020 due to a £ 8 million drop in income during the pandemic, and the charity aimed to balance the budget in 2022.
The income in 2019 was just under £ 40 million, according to the Charity Commission.