ST. ALBANS — More than 50 concerned members of the public piled into a meeting space at the La Quinta Inn & Suites Monday night, eager to hear from the Franklin County Animal Rescue’s (FCAR) board of directors about why the non-profit temporarily closed and what its plans are for moving forward.

At the beginning of April, FCAR announced it would be temporarily closing its doors due to ongoing financial challenges.

Monday night, board director Alice Astarita shed some light on the animal rescue’s current financial situation. As a certified public accountant that specializes in non-profits, Astarita was recruited to the board in November.

FCAR board member Alice Astarita

FCAR board member Alice Astarita

Astarita said she noticed FCAR had cash flow problems right away, but didn’t realize the extent of its financial crisis until March. “At the time of the March meeting, we had barely enough cash in the checking account, in the operating accounts, to cover the payroll,” she said.

“Based on what I saw, it looked like we were heading for a deficit of almost $60,000,” said Astarita. “So the entire board was in agreement that we had to do something and we had to do it quickly. Had we gone bankrupt, we could have potentially lost all of our equity in both 30 Sunset as well as 141 Fairfax.”

“I want you to know that it was a really hard decision to make,” she said, to temporarily close and relocate the animals. She said the board shed a few tears, but knew it was even harder on the FCAR staff and the community.

“Make no doubts about it, we are going to reopen,” said Astarita. “And we’re going to do so in a way that meets the needs of the cats and dogs in Franklin County and also in a way that this community can support.”

She said FCAR will have to operate differently in the future though, because the needs of the community have changed.

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