Privately-funded no-kill shelter ‘just existing month to month’

Staff looking for more sponsors to fund operations

Louie, a Jack Russell terrier, sticks his nose through the fence at Callaway Hills Animal Shelter. He is one of several dogs available for adoption from the no-kill shelter. They are in need of volunteers to help do repairs and upkeep around the grounds and are seeking monetary donations as well as necessary items for the animals.

Louie, a Jack Russell terrier, sticks his nose through the fence at Callaway Hills Animal Shelter. He is one of several dogs available for adoption from the no-kill shelter. They are in need of volunteers to help do repairs and upkeep around the grounds and are seeking monetary donations as well as necessary items for the animals. Photo by Julie Smith.

The Callaway Hills Animal Shelter isn’t able to accommodate the number of animals it has accommodated in the past.

The no-kill, private shelter, which is located on state Road TT just off Highway 54 in Callaway County, can accommodate more than 110 animals at capacity. It currently houses 29 dogs and nearly 30 cats because that’s all it can support financially.

The shelter is currently funded by a private donor.

“Our goal is to become self-sufficient by getting corporate and business sponsors,” said Kameha Underwood, an animal caretaker at the shelter.

The shelter has existed more than 30 years and was previously funded by long-time News Tribune publisher Betty Weldon through the News Tribune. After Weldon passed away in 2007 and the News Tribune was purchased by WEHCO Media in 2008, the shelter lost its source of funding. It has been funded by the private donor ever since.

“We would love to open our doors to support more animals, but we just can’t financially,” Underwood said. “I have to turn away people all the time.”

Underwood, who started as a volunteer at the shelter 13 years ago, said the shelter couldn’t operate without some of the donors it already has, such as Diamond Pet Foods, Walmart, Tractor Supply and many others.

“We’re really just existing month to month right now, though,” Underwood said.

She said there are various things in need of repair at the shelter. Fencing needs to be painted and repaired, the outdoor pens need additional pea gravel, and holes need to be filled in some of the pens.

Underwood said the shelter is run by a staff of four and several volunteers.

“We’re small, but mighty,” she said.

She said at this point, the shelter needs to stabilize itself. To run the shelter, it costs $6,000 a month in utilities, veterinary bills, staff salaries, food for the animals and any additional costs that may arise.

Underwood said those funds will not allow the shelter to expand its services to assist more animals.

She said once the shelter gets additional funding, staff would like to tend to the needed repairs and then reassess how much funding is available to accommodate additional animals.

“We just need more community support,” Underwood said. “We’re not here to make a profit. We just need to be able to help the next animal.”

If you are interested in adopting an animal, making a donation or volunteering at the shelter, call 573-896-4049 or visit the shelter at 2714 state Road TT in New Bloomfield.

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