Leigh's Lost and Found: C.A.R.E.'s big expansion plan to save more animals

Published: Apr. 11, 2019 at 12:38 PM CDT
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In today's Leigh's Lost and Found, the effort by one of Springfield's largest rescues to make a big expansion.

Castaway Animals Rescue Effort, or CARE, is kicking off a capital campaign soon to build a huge pet service center in west Springfield, with the goal of keeping more animals off the street and out of kill shelters.

C.A.R.E. has been at the forefront of animal rescue in the Ozarks for 25 years now. Led by Melissa Sartin, C.A.R.E. was one of the first to go cageless at their adoption centers and is a big reason animal control's euthanasia rate has dropped dramatically.

Sartin says, "we take in neglected and abused animals from law enforcement, death row animals from facilities that don't have an adoption program like our local animal control and then we also take hoarding situations, larger rescue operations."

Now, Melissa is reaching even further with plans to expand from their building on Sunshine to a much bigger building off west Battlefield.

C.A.R.E. already owns it and plans to turn it into a full service pet service center.

"What we would like to do is provide services to the public so that they can actually have resources to keep their pets. To reduce the number of animals going into kill facilities or animals dumped on the streets or animals being neglected or abused. We hope to do that through a number of programs, pet retention programs, educational programs and a full service veterinary clinic for low income."

The expansion will cost $750,000. A donor is offering to match donations up to $500,000 and Melissa hopes to have her dream realized in three years.

"By not stepping in front of the problem we're always going to be trying to play catch up in the number ob animals sitting on death row or the number of animals that end up on the streets.

What drives her is her obvious love of animals.

"I also care about the people and I know that there are a lot of kindhearted people out there and there's just not a lot of options. So when somebody wants to do the right thing I think it would be nice to step forward and give them the opportunity to be able to do that."

The rescue will officially kick off their capital campaign at the Red C.A.R.E.PET Gala on Thursday, April 25th. It's at the Veridian Hotel in downtown Springfield from 6-9pm. For more information or to make a donation to C.A.R.E. click on the related link to their website.