The nonprofit that helps maintain Huntington Beach's seaside haven for dogs has put out an urgent call for donations, saying the group may fall into bankruptcy in two to three months unless enough funds come in.
The Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach, which has overseen the area off Pacific Coast Highway between Seapoint and 21st streets since 1997, posted a notice on its website Sunday asking for added support. TheLocalHB.com an events website, also printed a longer version of the notice in an email newsletter.
Since then, several people have come forward with donations, according to President T.J. Daly.
"I would say we've easily gotten enough for another month in the last four days," he said.
The notice attributed the nonprofit's monetary woes to "a severe decrease in donations over the summer." Daly declined to give exact numbers for how much the preservation society needed, but said the group's finances, at the time the message went out, would only be enough to last about two months.
Between 2005 and 2010, the nonprofit made between $166,000 and $193,000 each year in contributions, according to IRS forms posted on http://www.guidestar.org. The website did not have a form yet for 2011.
Daly said most of the nonprofit's revenues come through merchandise sales and membership fees. The group also got $50,000 two years ago in a Chase Community Giving contest, in which the public votes on Facebook to allot funds to charities, he said.
In addition to cleaning the Dog Beach, the preservation society maintains and stocks bag dispensers around the beach area to help residents clean up after their dogs. The group also sells merchandise every weekend at a pair of canopies by the beach and has about 8,000 paying members, Daly said.
The nonprofit initially warned in its statement that if it ran out of money, the city would be unable to maintain the beach and would likely have to prohibit dogs from going there. However, Daly said the group retracted that statement after the city contacted him and said it would maintain the Dog Beach, even in the nonprofit's absence.
City spokeswoman Laurie Frymire told the Independent that city crews already clean the beach every night. The main difference if the preservation society folded, she said, is that residents would have to provide their own bags.
"There's no intention not to have Dog Beach there," Frymire said.
If the preservation society continues to struggle with funds, it may have to lay off staff or eliminate one of its canopies, Daly said.
He noted that summer and early fall is the group's top fundraising time of the year, in part because of the high number of beachgoers and in part because of foot traffic from the annual Surf City Surf Dog canine surfing contest, which takes place in late September.
"We're going to have revenue coming in until the end of September," Daly said. "Then from September to next spring, everything dies off for winter."