Police are investigating claims a volunteer stole nearly £2,000 from an animal charity in Sheffield.
Mill House Animal Sanctuary in Fulwood says it was already in dire straits financially when it discovered the money had gone missing earlier this month, leaving it reeling just weeks before Christmas.
The charity has been heartened by the public response, with donations soon pouring in following an appeal on its Facebook page, but it has called for more support to ensure it can continue to provide shelter for creatures of all kinds.
Pat Hartley, who runs the charity with her sister Jane Wright, said: "We were horrified to find a volunteer had been using one of our trade accounts for his own purposes, leaving us with a debt of almost £2,000. How anyone can effectively reduce our ability to feed our animals beggars belief.
"We were already critically short of funds before this, to the extent we're having to consider selling our property at Thurlstone, which is where we care for most of our horses. That would be a last resort but it could come to that.
"We're hugely grateful for the amazing response we've had but we still need more donations and we also need extra volunteers to help care for our animals."
The animal sanctuary on Mayfield Road cares for around 200 animals, from cats and dogs to chickens and pigs.
It has been running since 1948, when Pat and Jane rescued their first pony with their parents, and needs to raise around £2,000 a year to keep running.
The charity has created an Amazon wishlist where people can buy essential items like pet food and animal bedding.
It has thanked all those who have helped so far, especially The Debs Foundation, set up in memory of animal lover Debbie Gittleson, which paid for a new electrical system to be installed in its stable blocks.
South Yorkshire Police confirmed that an alleged theft from the charity had been reported and officers were investigating.
For more about the sanctuary, and how you can help, visit http://animalsheltersheffield.co.uk.