Katoomba’s animal shelter and pound will be closed.
The RSPCA told staff last week they had just six months of work before the doors were permanently shut.
Eight staff will be made redundant unless they can find positions within the organisation at other shelters.
Staff were shocked at the news, which came out of the blue.
The CEO of RSPCA NSW, Steve Coleman, said he had the “unfortunate job of advising the staff and volunteers last Wednesday that it was identified as one of our operations that is to be redundant”.
He said financial circumstances meant the RSPCA could not continue to sustain the Mort Street facility.
“Ordinarily charities have been relatively well supported by the community in tough times but it is now starting to impact on charities like the RSPCA,” he said. “We just had to make some really tough decisions now... or face a black hole in two years’ time.”
The shelter takes in surrendered, abandoned, injured, neglected and stray animals. It has found new homes for more than 1300 animals over the years and its office wall is lined with photos and letters from people grateful for the happiness their new pets have brought to their lives.
Mr Coleman said the Blue Mountains branch would continue with an online presence and he hoped animals could be fostered or adopted that way.
He said Katoomba was to be axed because of its “proximity” to other shelters, notably Yagoona and Orange, and because of an increase in vehicles driving through the Mountains which would be available to transport animals to new homes or other facilities.
“It is also a very active branch and we are very confident we can still fly the flag,” Mr Coleman said.
He hoped the shelter’s volunteers would continue to work with the RSPCA.
Mr Coleman said the RSPCA owned the premises and would be interested in leasing it out for other ventures.
The RSPCA is also closing its Dubbo facility and the animal adoptions component at Tweed Heads.