Published: May 25, 2010 11:12 PM EDT
Updated: May 25, 2010 8:13 PM EDT

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Stray animals are overflowing Port Charlotte's Animal Welfare League. Today, the shelter gave commissioners an ultimatum: increase funding, or the deal to take in animals from the county is off.

For the non-profit Animal Welfare League, it's a labor of love. "We protect these animals. We love them and we keep them," Robin Leonard said.

But love doesn't pay the bills. AWL has seen an increase an animals coming in but a decrease in private donations. It is the only shelter taking strays captured by the county's animal control.

"This is an influx of anywhere from 50 to 100 more animals a month," Sharon Thomas, AWL's Executive Director said. "We have pulled out every caging unit we have. We have put out a plea for extra cages."

So in a packed meeting, they asked for $60,000 for more cages and $17,000 more to care for the animals. "I don't see how you can possibly run it an cheaper without taking it out on all the animals," one woman told Commissioners.

Without the money, Animal Welfare League said it couldn't take in any more strays from the county. Commissioners approved the funding and continuing the county's contract with AWL 3-1. "We certainly always supported the fact that we wanted to continue our partnership with these not for profit community organizations, that's the best way to go," Animal Control Manager Lt. Brian Jones said.
Animal Control is now looking at ways of cutting costs for the plan. Commissioners will monitor the influx of animals throughout the summer to determine how much money the shelter needs.

At the meeting Tuesday,  two people expressed concern about monitoring how the money is spent. The Animal Welfare League says it will supply the county with an annual audit.