The Callaway Hills Animal Shelter has seen thousands of dogs and cats pass through its gates and into the hands of loving families. The shelter, which turned 30 this year, is now in danger of closing and only has enough staff to take care of a few dogs and cats.
"We started with 110 dogs and 50 cats, and over the years because of our funding we reduced down to 85 dogs, then it was 60 dogs, and now we are down to 29 dogs," said animal caretaker Kameha Underwood. She spends hours each week cleaning the kennels and taking care of the dogs. During the day, she teaches high school.
The shelter is "no-kill" - that means, dogs and cats are welcome to stay at the shelter as long as it takes to find them a home - the shelter never euthanizes the animals but some can stay there for years, which costs the shelter money.
For several years, the shelter has been having trouble getting stable funding to continue its mission to help abandoned, unwanted, and abused pets. Callaway Hills lost its primary source of funding in 2007 and ever since, it has been operating on a month-to-month basis. However, even monthly expenses are adding up to be too much.
Although the shelter is well-constructed, many parts of it are in dire need of repair - the detail work could get done if more people volunteered with the shelter. More importantly though the shelter is having trouble paying for things like vet bills, water and electricity - necessities the shelter needs to conduct its mission.
If Callaway Hills Animal Shelter closes, the community will lose a place to pick their pets, but also the only no-kill shelter in Callaway county.
If you are interested in making a contribution to the animal shelter or becoming a volunteer, they can be reached at 573-896-4049. Their address is 2714 State Road TT, New Bloomfield, MO 65063.