A Swadlincote charity which cares for abandoned dogs has been forced to close its doors for the foreseeable future to any new animals due to mounting vet bills.
Harley's Hounds, a charity that takes in unwanted pets and then finds them new homes, made the announcement on its Facebook page this week.
The charity, based in Hartshill Road, Hartshorne, said it has taken in many sick animals of late which has hit its funds hard.
In a post on its Facebook page it said: "Over the past few months we have been able to help many animals who are unwell, but in doing so, we have drained our resources to critical levels."
All about Harley's Hounds
Since arriving from Massachusetts eight years ago, Bella Hallam fell in love with Burton and set up Harley's Hounds, a dog rescue charity, although it now take some cats too.
The charity was a winner of a Burton Mail Community Champion Award for its work with animals.
Her efforts earned her the Kindness to Animals award.
On receiving her award, Mrs Hallam, 30, said: "Sometimes dogs just aren't treated as family members and if they get ill they are just discarded. I first started volunteering with animals when I was 12.
"I just always feel I need to do more for the animals and that's how Harley's Hounds started."
Volunteers this week said the temporary closure was necessary so it could focus its attention and funds on the animals it currently has in its care.
The charity's vets' bills are currently standing at around £7,000 and staff are appealing for donations to pay off the total before it can take in any more unwanted pets.
Naomi Field-Jones, a trustee at Harley's Hounds, said: "We don't do adoptions over the Christmas period as we don't believe in giving animals as presents.
"Because adoptions aren't happening and we aren't getting funds such as adoption fees. We don't have as much money coming in."
Naomi said it had animals in need of major operations, which were proving costly for the charity. It is currently caring for 34 dogs and cats which it is then hoping to find new homes for.
These include a Rottweiler dog which has a very swollen knee and is suspected to be cancer, but Harley's Hounds would pay for "whatever treatment is necessary" in order to ease her pain, she said.
A 14-year-old jack russell dog was also at the shelter and has fatty lumps covering its body – racking up a vet bill of £2,000.
Staff have already set up a charity auction with the hope of raising enough money to be able to reopen and continue to take in animals.
The charity, which was launched by Bella Hallam in 2015, is also appealing for old mobile phones or electrical devices to recycle to raise funds.
Anyone interested in donating to Harley's Hounds can do so by using PayPal via firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking the donate button at the top of the charity's Facebook page.
Donations will be accepted directly to the charity's vet, Bright Side Swadlincote.