2nd dog rescue shelter in Texas County will close Jan. 31

Dr. Julie Brinker examines a dog transported from Cabool to St. Louis on Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. (Humane Society of Missouri)
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CABOOL, Mo. - Diana’s Grove Dog Rescue, the largest no-kill shelter in Missouri, will close next week. The decision leaves Texas County with no animal rescue organizations after The Animal Shelter of Texas County also decided to close this week.

Diana's Grove Dog Rescue's board members have resigned and are working with founders to find new homes for more than 160 dogs at the shelter in Cabool and nearly 50 dogs that it has in foster care in St. Louis.

Through Jan. 31, when the organization’s license will be allowed to expire, dogs can be adopted privately. Several licensed rescues, shelters and no-kill shelters are coordinating to take in dogs that do not find homes by Feb. 1.

Diana’s Grove Dog Rescue’s shelter is in Cabool but the vast majority of adoptions over the last 10 years were to homes in the St. Louis region.

(Editor's note: Late last fall, Diana's Grove Dog Rescue lost its permission to use a space at a store in St. Louis to display the rescued dogs and put them up for adoption after complaints from a few people about the health of their newly adopted dogs. The Humane Society of Missouri then took in some of the dogs from the facility in Cabool. Diana's Grove board members were unable to find another space in the St. Louis area to conduct the adoptions.)

In its more than 20 years of operation, Diana’s Grove coordinated adoptions for approximately 15,000 dogs, primarily from southern Missouri, an area where the need for placement of dogs is high and other resources are low.

In 2016, the organization facilitated adoptions for 2,199 dogs and puppies and performed nearly 1,900 alterations, preventing an estimated 11,000 puppies.

“Dozens of long-standing and new volunteers, board members and professionals, primarily from St. Louis, have worked tirelessly over the last few months to improve Diana’s Grove. Our focus was working toward a sustainable organization that would eventually represent universal best practices for rural animal rescue,” said Amanda Sheffield, former board president for Diana’s Grove. “Within the last two days, new information has come to my attention by a credible third party. This information, paired with the ongoing challenges, has made it clear that the board could no longer support continuing forward.”

The immediate and primary focus of all involved is to secure the well being and future of the dogs at the shelter. Through Jan. 31, dogs and puppies will be available for adoption. Available dogs can be seen at www.takeafriendhome.org, and applications can be completed through the website. Adoption fees will be reduced to $100 for dogs and $150 for puppies younger than 16 weeks. The fees will cover outstanding vet bills; transfer expenses; and dog care, as well as staff wages and operating costs during the closure.

“Many staff at the shelter will be greatly affected by losing their jobs”, said Sheffield. “Those staff have been given two weeks notice and will assist through the transition.”

“Thousands of dogs in southern Missouri now have very few bridges to forever homes this year given the closing of both Diana’s Grove and The Animal Shelter of Texas County this week,” said Sheffield. “Many volunteers and professionals remain passionate and committed to helping the dogs in this high-need, under-served area. The mission to serve the dogs in Texas County does not end with the closing of Diana’s Grove. We don’t yet know where the path will lead, but we know that we can’t turn our backs on these dogs.”

A Facebook group as been setup for those interested in supporting

Adoptable dogs can be viewed at www.takeafriendhome.org and will be shared on facebook.com/dgdogrescue. The adoption application is available at http://www.takeafriendhome.org/application.html. Individuals interested in adoption can email Dogs@TakeAFriendHome.org.