An empty bank account is forcing Gunnedah RSPCA to turn away the animals it pledged to save.
The local volunteer group will be forced to fold if it cannot build up its funds again and is only able to take in the worse cases at the moment.
"We have virtually no money to be able to continue to rescue animals," RSPCA member Maddie Lawback said.
"It's always looked a bit grave but we've just managed to keep our heads above water. The last few months the funds have dwindled away.
"We're trying not to take in any more animals and redirect people to other organisations and rescues."
The branch has been raising its own funds for 11 years and often the cost of preparing animals for adoption outstrips the adoption fee. In the past year, the branch has rehomed 170 animals.
"To be able to maintain finances, we need to fundraise and having a very small number of volunteers makes it a great struggle," Ms Lawback said.
"The average for our vet bills is between $6000 and $8000 a month, then obviously, the longer we keep animals in care, the more funds are being used on food and extra vaccinations.
"Gunnedah vets give us a great support and do give us a discount with all veterinarian work but obviously, it does add up when you have lots of animals in care."
Adoptions drop off over winter so the funds going out exceed the funds coming in.
The branch has not raised its adoption fees because they want to keep them at "a reasonable price so that all families are able to adopt their forever pet".
Ms Lawback said they could no longer rescue from the Gunnedah pound and had to turn animals away.
"You feel that guilt of having to say no," she said.
Despite lack of funds, the branch has taken in two litters of puppies in the last few months because they were in such bad condition.
They were forced to call for donations of food and funds to keep them in care.
"We've had to be very selective on what we can rescue," Ms Lawback said.
"We love what we do and we care for animals. If we do see animals like that, we do try and go the extra mile."
We have virtually no money to be able to continue to rescue animals.Maddie Lawback, Gunnedah RSPCA
Founding RSPCA member and president Cheryl Sharman said it had become "a labour of love".
"Sometimes it's like taking two steps forward and one step back," she said.
"It would be sad if it had to close down but without younger people wanting to come in take over, we might have to.
"We'll do it for as long as we can but how long can you do it without young blood? Besides money, we really need younger volunteers to come to meetings and help us do fundraisers."
Ms Lawback said it would be a great help if local organisations or schools kept the branch in mind for fundraisers, and community members can drop donations in the branch's collection bin at Woolworths.
- To find out how to help the Gunnedah RSPCA, phone 0419 474 689 or contact the group on Facebook.