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Animal Shelter of the Week: Episode 53 – Stone County Humane Society

FB 53. Stone County Humane Society_Animal Shelter of the Week

The Stone County Humane Society (SCHS) was started by a group of newcomers to Mountain View, Arkansas, Stone County in 1999. This rural area had no leash laws or spay and neuter requirements for animals, so the county was overrun with unwanted, neglected dogs and cats. This group formed with the goal of building a shelter someday and to educate the community on animal care and spay neuter.

Stone County Humane Society_Animal Shelter of the Week


Welcome to the ARPA Animal Shelter of the Week podcast where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals.  We’re proud to be sponsored by Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport.  Let’s meet this week’s featured animal shelter.

The Stone County Humane Society s C. H s was started by a group of newcomers to Mountain View, Arkansas Stone County. In 1999 this rule area had no leash laws or spay and neuter requirements for animals. So the county was overrun with unwanted neglected dogs and cats. This group formed with the goal of building a shelter someday and to educate the community on animal care and spay neuter. Hi there, Bonnie. How are you today? I’m good. Kimberly, how are you? I’m doing well. Thank you so much for joining us today. Well, thank you for inviting us to do this. I’m really excited. Definitely. I mean, we’re excited to learn about your organization. So you are the treasurer at the Stone County Humane Society in Arkansas. Is that correct? that’s correct. Perfect. So can you tell me a little bit about your organization and how you kind of got started there? Well, the organization was formed back in 1999 is a non profit by a few citizens that were concerned about the number of stray animals in the area. So many of the animals were not state or neutered. And so this group of people wanted to do something to help the situation. So they got it going, and they just worked out of foster homes and things like that for cats and dogs for many years. And when I came in 2008 my husband and I retired up here from Memphis and my background is banking. So I was in banking for 25 years, so I kind of started all the administrative stuff, the storms, to help us keep up with things the record keeping so we could have information we needed to try to apply for grants. I took care of the day, neuter clinics and make sure the doctor got paid into the minds and things like that. So I became the administrator, and in 2011 I actually became the vice president served as vice president for many years until 2018. I decided just to do the treasurer job and someone else is the vice president. And so that’s what I’m doing now is the treasurer. But we’re in Mountain View, and it’s a north central Arkansas. It’s a small rural community of about 3000 people. Stone County has 11,000 and total residents that we serve both the city and the county. I know you just shared a little bit about the community, but I kind of want to back up just a little bit and kind of talk about the fact that you’ve had a ton of roles within this organization. So that kind of makes you a little bit of a jack of all tree. Do you know a little bit about everything? I guess I do because, like I said with my administrative background, I just saw the need for better record keeping and course when we built the shelter. We’ve got a computer and I started keeping everything on the computer. Until then, I kept it on my home computer and just kept up with everything that way. We started keeping up with inventory. Better with our adoptions, Better with everything. Like I said, mostly a lot of information that’s required when you’re applying for grants, which was something we were wanting to dio. But being the vice president, I served with a lady that’s been the president. I should mention Tina, Home one since she moved up here, which was just, I think, a year or two after it got started not long after I got started. So she has been involved for over 20 years now, and she’s a wonderful lady with a huge heart and just really runs his organization very, very well. And so I just became her buddy and her comfort on, and we just work together so well that we were able to accomplish these goals that they set out back in 1999 which was to build a shelter to help house the animals that were running around loose and reproducing and just causing more and more animals. So I take my hat off to her. Without her, none of this would have happened. But yeah, if she can’t do it, I can. If I can’t do it, she can. We work very well together we would complement each other very well. And then we have a board member of 10 total of 10 people that everybody does their road. We have people that run a second chance shop. That’s a little thrift store that help support us in town. And we have all volunteers that run that. And then we have a lady that does just our public relations thing and get things out in the paper and stuff like that. Everybody has a good role of what they do to help us that takes all of us to make it work. Well, they always say it definitely takes a village Thio, keep things running and keep it running smoothly. And I mean, it sounds like you guys have the right people and you all have your roles that you’re trying to accomplish. And I love that you guys can all work together to keep the initial vision alive. But when did you guys actually open up a physical location? Well, one of our board members on a beautiful property just about a mile outside of town and country bed and breakfast, and he had enough land that he was able to donate some of that land that was Jerry and Carol Webber. And so they donated the land sometime, I think, in 2002 or something like that, and we operated with foster homes until 2011. Then we started moving them out of there and they started building the shelter, and the first thing we did was build dog port. Three sides covered the top and concrete floors. Then we had curtains that we roll dance. We built 11 pens like that on the property first, and that was in 2012. Then we had three separate isolation pans for new dogs. In 2013 we built our cat cottage that we operated with these outdoor kennels and cat cottage. Until 2014. A lady gave a a wonderful gift. When she died, she left her state us. And that allowed us along with years of fund raising. We did two years of fundraising and we had raised about $300,000 ourself that was just sitting in CDs and stuff in the bank. So we’ve got the money from the bank. We used the trust of our money and we started building the shelter in 2015 and it was completed in 2016 and that’s when we opened in September of 26 chain. So we’ve been operating from our building since then, and the building is paid for, and the only way we were able to build that building was because of this wonderful gift. This lady left it, but, you know, it takes a lot of money. We used about 40 to 50,000 of that money each year just for shelter operations and to pay our employees. We have four employees that currently helped take care of the animals and feed them to keep the place clean. We have one full time manager. That’s the position we’re currently trying to feel again. And then we have three part time girls that do a wonderful job of caring for the animals. Anyway, that’s we’ve been up right in the shelter now since 2016 in that capacity, and we have volunteers that come and work the desk every day and answer the phone and deal with people. Walk in the end and things and you know it works really well. We have volunteers that come and walk our dogs in the afternoon and socialize their cats and just do whatever we need him to do to help around here. The issue we have, it’s just we’re all major odor, all retirement age. And we really need people for the future to carry it on once we’re gone, as well as funding so bony. I find that so amazing that you guys starting each year, you did a little bit more, you know, in you had an extensive amount of growth over each year, and I find that amazing and the fact that you have somebody that believed in what you guys were doing toe actually leave you a trust to help you guys. That’s definitely generous. And you know, you don’t hear about that very often. And so that really stood out to me. And one of the things that kind of popped up was, I know that you guys have your physical location right now, but do you guys still use that previous land where you built the dog pins and the cat cottage and everything? That’s where we got the shelter. That zit all on the same property. Yes, it’s all on the same property. Once he donated the lands, our goal was to build the shelter there someday, and so we’ve been depends there first and then, Like I said, we were able to actually build the shelter. So it’s all next to this gorgeous bed and breakfast with a lake that kind of separated. They have a beautiful lake next to their property, and so our dogs get to walk around the lake and in the summertime when they get to swim in the lake. And it’s a very beautiful scenery that shelter sits in, and we have a video that takes you on a tour of the shelter and a tour of the cat cottage. If you got our website on at home page, you can see a good bit of the surrounding area. The setting that it sits in is just really pretty working in the Ozark Mountains, so it’s beautiful up here. It’s just a good location. It’s close to town, you know. It’s only about a mile from town, so it’s closed. You know why I checked out your guys is website. I literally loved where it was the little building on the lake. It’s so pretty, and it definitely makes you feel like all right, the animals have a place to play and they’ve got land and they can run and they can do all these different things. So, bunny, I kind of want to pivot a little bit and talk a little bit more about your community. I know that you’ve kind of touched based on it a little bit, but, you know, share with us a little bit about your community as a whole. I know you mentioned it’s kind of rule over there, but how is it for the animals over there? Okay, well, our community’s kind of unique. Some families have been here for generations, so you’ve got a lot of people that have just lived here forever. But we also have new people that come in from all over the U. S. To retire. It’s a popular retirement area, and as a result, a large portion of our population is older. New ideas are not always readily accepted, and that’s been a challenge for us. At first, people were not wanting Thio neuter the male animals because of honey dogs. You know, there’s a lot of hunters that here we’re right here by the Ozark National Forest, and there’s a lot of hunting that goes on up here. And so we have to work to convince people that this is, ah healthy option for their dogs and convince them that they need to neuter them. And some people were actually opposed to the nice facility was built because they thought, Well, for dogs are you need a barn or a metal building or something, you know, But we wanted something that looked nice that would help improve the community and stand out in the community and a nice looking building. And that was one reason we went with something a little bit different. And, you know, it’s just next to this beautiful bed breakfast. So we wanted to blend in with the surrounding area where it was located. Down County is one of the poorer counties in Arkansas, and the people love their animals that often they can’t afford to take care of him. We get people that come to the shelter to get food. When people give us, we give it to the community if it’s not the kind we normally see, so we do help provide for the people that have a lot of animals, but they’re just not able to afford to adequately pay for proper health care. You just like Rabies and normal annual vaccines. And when the animals get hurt, they can’t always treat them and take care of them. And people don’t have a lot of fences up here because it’s so rural, especially out in the county. Just open land. And so there’s not a lot of ways to keep the animals say We see lots of animals tied up outside and are just allowed to wonder, and then they get in trouble when they wonder. Often they start chasing cows or horses or something and other people’s land. And then animals are done certainly out on these back roads, probably the most is under surrenders on a surrender, because I just can’t afford to take care of him anymore. They’re moving, or when the owner dies and the family doesn’t want the pits, we get the men. But I’d say probably 80% of our animals come from just strays that are dumped. Oh my goodness. I mean, that definitely seems like you guys have a little bit of controversy over there, you know, it seems like you guys are on one side trying to help the animals and do better. And then you’ve got the people of the community, you know, kind of set in their ways a little bit. Yeah, that’s it. And, you know, this is a very deeply rooted community of the white. It’s always been, but, you know, as time goes by, we try to offer our building to the community. We’ve had birthday parties there. We offer our building for people to have meetings that they need to. And we’ve had baby showers there, you know? So we definitely try to offer our building to be used. So we welcome them in invites and becoming, and we’ve had some good results. I think we’ve turned a lot of people around, so it’s a lot better now than it was in the beginning. That is awesome. It really sounds like you guys are trying to improve your community and make everybody so welcome there. So that kind of leads me down the road of what kind of programs do you guys offer as an organization to your community today? The main thing that were concerned about, of course, is seeing that all these animals get spayed and neutered so the biggest thing we do for the communities we offer three different by neuter programs, and they’re all low calls. We have a local vet, Dr Bill Nixon, that charges us $70. And so, since this is cheaper than normal, we do ask some people that can afford that to pay it. If not, they’ll take 50 and we pay 20. These people dropped animal op during the week will make an appointment for them. On certain days, it’s a bit available. They’ll drop it off in the morning. Pick it up at the end of the day. Did we have another problem that is considered are really low cost clinic for people who are unlimited income? A lot of people appear on disabilities are they’re just old ring on security and they just have limited income. So this clinic is held once a month on a Saturday, and we make all the appointments with schedule about 25 to 30 animals. We started noon. We got 67 o’clock and we schedule a specific time and they have to come and wait while their pets done instead of just dropping it off like they do the other type, and we provide volunteers to work in these clinics. People helped do the meds to knock the animals samba for the surgery and David shaving and all that and prepare the surgical pack and keep them sterilized and claim my job is I work the front desk. It says clinics and do all the administrative paperwork and see that the doctor paid it into the month. We budget $10,000 a year for the Saturday clinic, and both of these options the $50 in the $25 there just for Stone County residents. So you have to live in the county or in the city of Mountain View and through these two programs, including our shelter animals. For the past two years, we spayed and neutered about 780 animals, and we’ve spent about $38,000 just for the past two years. And keep in mind, that’s just for animals from Stone County, so that gives you an idea of just how much it’s needed. But then there’s 1/3 program that we just started last year because we were approached by a group from Springdale, Arkansas called, say, Arkansas last February Their mission is to help pay a neuter animals in various rural areas through the whole state of Arkansas. So they did their research, and they targeted the mountain view area and surrounding counties, and they provide three day clinics. Last year they did that for Stone County and the six surrounding county, and so clients were charged $15 for cats and $25 for dogs. And this included not only to stay neuter but the Rabies vaccination, the dog and cat back thing and after care man that I needed or lik e a is a big tick disease up here for dogs, and they test for that during these clinics as well as we do. And that requires doctor cycling to get rid of that disease. And so they’ll provide that medicine to these people. So it’s a really good deal because they get all of that for that one call. They bring all their own equipment, the doctors, the bet, Tex and the meds, too. We have been in our local fairgrounds building, and the county Donate Stat and doesn’t charge is to use it. And then about 300 animals were done during each clinic, and that was the three clinics we did last year. So last year they did 933 animals. Remember, that’s not just some county. That six other surrounding counting and these people are just a desperate is wayward. Some of them don’t have any programs, and their counties are there areas that are low cost. So you know, it’s definitely a need in this hell rural area. But we have a clinic scheduled for March and 11 to 30 chain, and they Arkansas provides all the funding for this so it doesn’t cost us that they pay the doctor’s in the vet checks, and then we provide volunteers to work each day, and we’re responsible for making all the appointments and handling all the registration and all the administrative duty. So in an area that’s so underserved people, when they heard about this, we’re just a year to get the appointments. We had no clue what the response was going to bay, and so the first clinically did. Last year was a bit of a nightmare because we made about 300 appointments in about three days and our son did not stop ringing after that, people were calling still on course. I put things out on social media on our Facebook about it, and before you put something out on Facebook and the whole world knows, you know, And so we got bombarded. So we’ve made a few changes, and now we’ve purchased a separate cell phone and give a different number. And we have volunteers that just may in that cell phones every day when we’re taking the appointments. And so that took it off the shelter because it was so hard for us to operate the shelter and run it and take just our shelter calls because the phone was ringing so much about these appointments. So that’s how we made some improvements over that situation. Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of like a win lose tape thing. It’s like the phones constantly ringing off the hook, and you know, you’re super busy, but it’s like you want people to do that, and it’s a good thing. So, bunny, do you guys only, except cats and dogs over there. Do you guys take in any other types of animals? No, we do not. We just did cats and dogs. But I tell you, if There’s a name for other things. You know, we’ve had people asked us to take rabbits, that they find our bird, but we just don’t have the room or the expertise to be able to take care of any other kind of animals. We get reports of horses that are not being fed or not properly cared for, and it’s sad. But we always try to get the sheriff involved or the law enforcement and get them to go out and try to talk to the people about providing better care. And the laws and Arkansas don’t allow the Humane Society to go to people houses and try to do anything. So we have to get law enforcement to help us in the situations. But now that we got all we can handle the dog and cat definitely. But it’s good that you guys still kind of take that initiative to help out when you can to the best of your capability is certainly that’s didn’t want any animals ever supper, you know, So yeah, but I mean to your point to You don’t want to take an animal, and that’s hurt or something. If you guys don’t have the expertise to care for him. So you guys do the next best thing and get them help where you can, so that’s awesome. But what do you guys consider your challenge for your organization? Honestly, the biggest challenge that doesn’t involve specifically the animals is assuring the long term continuity of our shelter, you know, because all of our board members are retirement age or older and we want to keep the shelter operating after we’re all gone. Of course. So we really need younger people to get more involved and committed to serve on our board, to volunteer on a regular basis. You know, we have volunteers that kind of come and go. Then we have our core committed volunteers that are there any time we need them. And so we need more people like that. They’re willing to foster son force because we work from a wait list and we stay full all the time. And we did a lot of intense, detailed record keeping over the years of what it cost for us to care for a certain number of animals. So we’re really good about keeping our numbers down, and we don’t let our shelter get overcrowded, and one thing that we do feel good about it would keep it at a managed number. We try to keep just a couple of dogs in a room together, and not any more than that. We have kennel rooms and not Kendall peons in our shelter building. We have 10 kennel room with a doggy door that they could get out door to a candle to. So our biggest challenge is just keeping that going and funding. You know, we’ve done everything to try to get money. We sell T shirts, cookbooks, artwork. So you know, we’ve done everything we know today to try to get money and to help us keep going. And like I said, that trust money will run out eventually. We do invest in by that every year, but we need quite a bit more to run the operations off the income that we earn. You know, the goal was to get the investments large enough that we can live off the interest income to support the shelter once we’re all gone. So another challenge with the animals is a lot of had been through some bad stuff. If they’ve been in a home where it hasn’t been well cared for or they’ve been dumped in abandoned and that you can see the scars on them when they come in. Some of them are just in bad health, you know, and so it’s tough seeing him. But the good thing is, we see I’m evolve and change and lost about. It’s a beautiful animals, too, and that’s the good thing about it. And then we see him. Of course, get adopted is the best thing, but they do. Some of them come in pretty bad shape, you know, and we do what we can to take care of all of them and get turned around so that their adoptable, I really like that you’re bringing us in and showing us what your struggles are and kind of the different ways. You know, you guys pivot a little bit between your programs and the stuff that you’re offering, and you know, that’s what makes it real for us is to see that it’s not just easy going every single day, taking an animal’s getting them adopted out. It’s so much more work. It’s never easy. It’s never easy, Believe me, we all struggle every day, with something. You know, one of the worst things is when you get a call saying this adoption not working out, we’re going to bring this animal back, and that happens. And we’ve got two coming back this weekend, and it just breaks our heart when it doesn’t work out. You know, for whatever reason, and most of the time it’s not really the animal fault. Sometimes it is. They’re just not behaving like they need him to. They can’t get him trained or something. But we do our best to try and train our animals. We have one of our employees that comes and works just about three days a week and does just training, you know, in a shelter atmosphere. They’re constantly hyped up because there’s so many other dogs and cats around, and they’re excited when people come because I know they’re going to get Walt, you know, they know when somebody’s coming in the afternoon and comes to that room to get him. They’re going for a walk and they get excited, you know, they jump on. Yeah, they just want to take off. So we’re learning how to train them better and calm them down and things like that. But, you know, some of you still need to be house trained when they go to the homes. We can’t help train there at the shelter that not something we’re just able to do. So it’s not easy, Believe me, it’s not easy. There’s always something, but it’s a mixture of good and bad. And most of the time the good takes over the bad things that we do have to experience heartache quite often more than we like. Yeah, definitely. And you know, that’s always tough. But one of the things is you’ve been with that organization since 2008 and from what you have explained, it sounds like, you know, you were in that administrative role in the banking and everything like that. Do you have any type of memorable story that you can share with us? That kind of lead you to the role that you’re in? You can blind my mother, my mother, because she always had dogs. We had cat, too, but mainly dog, she loved dogs. And so she just instilled in May all my life that, you know, I just love dogs. I’ve always loved animals. I had a horse growing up, I had, you know, dogs and cats. So I’ve always been a huge animal lover things to my mother and my dad. He was a hunter. He had hunting dogs, say he raised a couple of letters of hunting dogs. And so we would visit over here for like, 20 years before we ever moved here. We would come and visit, and we often if we didn’t camp, we would often stay at the country oak bed and breakfast. And these people that run that were involved in this united society that we’re the ones that became involved early on, and they had moved here from California and started this bed and breakfast business and retire here to do that. So they began to tell me what’s going on with you in a society when we would stay there and thanks anyway. That’s what got me involved was the Webbers. It’s the country of bed and breakfast because they realized I had administrative, you know, background and could probably help at the same neuter clinic. That’s where I started out doing the paperwork to pay the doctor and keeping up with all that at the end of the month because it just so happened when we moved here, the girl that was doing that was moving and leaving the area. So they asked me if I would take over the plane, neuter clinics and back then we were doing a couple of months. So anyway, at that time, I was just in the early 50. So, you know, I still had a lot of great power and health and everything, and I’m doing pretty good today. Still it 63. But it just kind of evolved because I saw the need. I just came up with things, you know, That’s just the kind of person I am. If I see something that needs being done, I just do it, you know? Anyway, I get that from my father. He was very smart, businessman, entrepreneur. That was successful from after the war and all that. But I got his brain power and love for animals from my mother and just took all that ran with it. And it’s been very rewarding. Quite honestly. I worked harder in this organization, and I ever worked in the banking industry, but like I said, I love it, and I’m thankful for my work that I do there and for the opportunity to serve the community and being bombed with the animals and say that they’re taking care of and that our problems are operated like there says to bay. And just that things go well. Another program we do that, I might mention, is the pause in prison program that were involved in with the state of Arkansas. That allows us to take seven right Dawgs up every eight weeks, and they have trainers up there. The inmate learn from a professional trainer that comes once a week and works with them, and they train the dogs. They get least trained, house trained. They teach him basic obedience and tricks, things like that and stay with the guys in their barracks. And it’s just 24 7 TLC, and then they get adopted out. And you know, people from all over will come to get a pause in prison dog, because it’s a wonderful program that not only helps our dogs get adopted, but it helps the inmates. You know, it helps them feel like they’re doing something worthwhile, whether incarcerated and it really just gives them a good feeling about themselves and you go up there. They have a little graduation ceremony every eight weeks, and you get to see the ones that are leaving and going to their new home. And then we bring the new ones the same day, so kind of sad because they’re losing the dog. And I’ve seen a big guy with a tear running down and say when he has to give that dog up. But he’s getting a new dog right away and they fall in love all over again. And so it’s really a great program. We’ve been involved in that 2012 and we’ve had probably 125 30 dogs by now adopted through that program, and it really helps us keep our animals moving out of the shelter, because when we take seven right dogs up there, they were able to take seven right dogs off our wait list. And so it really has helped us get more animals in the shelter as they go up to pause in prison. So that is a very awesome program, you know. I mean two birds with one stone, you know, those inmates are getting their time, but it’s also helping with the training of the animals. That is awesome that you guys are able to offer something like that and backing up to everything that you and you know, your other board members and staff members. And, you know, your volunteers as well. All the great work that you guys were doing, we need more people like that. So I’m definitely happy that we got to talk to you today and learn more about the Stone County Humane Society and just kind of everything that you guys are experiencing over there, whether it’s the struggles and then the flip side of all the good stuff. So I’m very thrilled that you joined me today. Thank you so much for doing that, Bonnie. Well, thank you for having me, Kimberly. It’s been a wonderful time talking with you and let me share. You know what we do what we’re about and hope that people will check out our website S C h e t s dot or GE. And if they want to contact this, they can email us at S C. H s at Yell Kat y e l c o t dot net. And then they can call us at 870269 52 100 they can check out our YouTube videos that will show the shelter and the cat cottage and give him an idea of what our place looks like. And they could donate through our website. They can go to pay PAL and put our email address on there, or they can send us a check and just mail it to our location at 17379 How a nine Mountain View, Arkansas. 7 to 56 zeros are next. I neuter Clinic that’s coming up is 11 12 and 13 in March and then in October will have our annual fundraiser pause for the cause at a local park and have a day of fun and games for kids, music, food and the best ever Bake Sale Dog and cat photo contest. And we hope people will come and enjoy a day celebrating pets in community. And it be a great time to visit mountain View and just see how beautiful it is in the fall with the fall colors around here. So we’d love to have your listeners come and join us for that fund raiser Absolutely. I mean, I’m I’m jealous. I want to go to Arkansas and see it all and participate in everything. Things for joining us again. Money. Thank you. I appreciate you reaching out to us and wanting to do this. Four. Thank you so much, Kimberly. Not a problem having today need to have a bye bye.

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