County animal shelter to relieve overcrowding

LUXORA, AR (KAIT) - Animal rescues and humane societies across Region 8 are overcrowd, so much so that they are turning away strays every week.  

Mississippi County is no exception, but an 85-year-old Blytheville woman may have a solution.

"This would be the first county shelter in Mississippi County," Shirley Connealy said.

Connealy secured land along Leroy Meadows Memorial Highway in Luxora from Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore for the Mississippi County Animal Rescue Shelter.

"Just two people wanting something wonderful to happen to the animals," Connealy said. "We decided this would be the most perfect place. Now we have a place that we can put big animals, large animals."

Connealy said this shelter would not discriminate. Dogs, horses, cows, any neglected animal is welcome.

"There's so many animals that people don't realize that they're so weak and skinny that they can't even walk," Connealy said. "Some will die, some are hit by cars, and some of them are used as targets. Sounds horrible, but people are the reason for it."

Connealy said when animals become troublesome and costly, their owners just set them free. But many of these animals do not know how to handle the wild. 

"These are domesticated animals," Connealy said. "They've always had a bowl of food, but now they have to forge for their food. Eventually someone's gonna get hurt because if they're hungry, they'll do what they have to do to eat."

Connealy has the land to build the shelter, but what's missing is money. She has raised about $27,000 of her $400,000 goal. 

"They're not cheap," Connealy said. "None of it's cheap."

Connealy said it all adds up: construction costs, cages for the animals and more. However, Connealy said the benefits will outweigh the startup costs. 

"It does hurt the county to have all these animals, but most of all, it gets rid of the misery going on," Connealy said. "They're just like us. They're warm-blooded and they bleed just like we do."

Connealy has fought for the shelter for years and said she will not give up until these strays have a home.  

"This is what my dream is before I kick the bucket," Connealy said. "I hope I live to see it come true."

For more information or to make a donation, send letters to Mississippi County Animal Rescue, P.O. Box 2374 Blytheville.

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