The Yukon Government has suspended its funding to the Yukon Humane Society while its board fights orders from the territorial government’s Registrar of Societies in the courts.

The government has withheld a $40,000 cheque, normally delivered in October. The Registrar of Societies says funding won't be granted until the board complies with his orders.

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Shelley Cuthbert, president of the Yukon Humane Society, says some staff have been laid off to cut costs. (CBC)

The registrar says the humane society’s board of directors has violated non-profit society rules by denying memberships and refusing to open the society books.

In September it ordered the board to re-instate suspended board members and to hold a special meeting to elect a new board of directors.

Meanwhile the humane society says the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse is full and is not accepting additional animals. The society's president, Shelley Cuthbert, said some staff have been laid off to cut costs.

"We are not closing the shelter at this time and we do not want to close the shelter," she said.

"But it's that time of the year where we have to lay off a few staff because it's that time of year where funding is low and we have to save money."

Cuthbert would not talk about the withheld cheque or the lawsuit, except to say a society lawyer is preparing to fight the case in court. 

Tom Ullyett speaks for the government's legal services branch.

"I know the registrar is very concerned obviously about the operations of the humane society and really is almost playing a public trustee role here," he said.

"He's doing that in the interest of all members of Whitehorse and Yukon who care about the welfare of animals."

The lawsuit aimed at forcing compliance with the orders was scheduled for hearing Tuesday. It's now been adjourned until mid-December so society lawyers can prepare their case.