Osage Beach Couple Starts Home Animal Shelter

7 years 3 months 23 hours ago Thursday, September 16 2010 Sep 16, 2010 Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:11:44 AM CDT September 16, 2010 in News
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OSAGE BEACH - With animal shelters overflowing, one couple has turned their home into a 5 acre menagerie. Paul and Joyce Rhodes have always been animal lovers, but when they volunteered at a local shelter, they were horrified to see how overcrowded the shelters were. So this spring they made their home into a animal shelter.

"We have about forty [animals]," said Rhodes. The couple thought opening up another shelter in their area would help alleviate the problem, but instead, they have the same one.

"We get three or four calls a day. Pretty much the nature of those calls can be a gamut of things: Abandoned puppies, found puppies, dogs that were left behind," said Paul Rhodes.

Shawne Mitchell of Dogwood Animal Shelter said they get an average of 25 to 35 calls per day--and on a bad day the phone never stops ringing. Mitchell said her shelter is so over capacity that it is putting animals in any functional space possible. She said they have animals in the staff kitchen and storage rooms are all filled with animals. Even a room that used to hold an X-ray now holds dogs.

Joyce Rhodes said she thinks the economy is to blame. "You know people are losing their jobs, they're losing their homes, they have to move to an apartment."

On Tuesday, the state reported that Missouri's unemployment rate increased to 9.3%.

"Between the phone calls of, you know, I just need a home, I found a cat and five kittens, you know, these were dumped, I get more of the I'm moving I've lost my home, my husband has lost his job," said Rhodes.

Allen Allert of the Central Missouri Humane Society sees an economic hardship to the people who bring in animals.

"We really have that impression for a lot of reasons, sometimes they say they can't afford it, sometimes they say their conditions have changed or they've lost their job," said Allert.


The Central Missouri Humane Society catalogs the reason people drop off animals, and Allert said categories like "Landlord Issues," "Change In Lifestyle," and "Cannot Afford" are the most common this year.

And with three more months of this year still to go, the Rhodes may have a lot more on their hands.

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