BAHS is a limited admission shelter. This means we intake adoptable animals and never euthanize for shelter space.
Mission: The Belleville Area Humane Society strives to improve the lives of homeless animals in our community through adoption, humane education, and community outreach.
Vision: Homeless animals in our community are valued, cared for, and treated with compassion.
Values: Compassion, Education, Community, and Collaboration
BAHS is a limited admission shelter. This means we intake adoptable animals and never euthanize for shelter space.
We have been housing animals in our community since 1959. Thousands of homeless animals have been adopted since that time.
Shelters: approximately 35 dogs and 30 cats.
Adoptions: approximately 700 annually.
We are 100% donor funded and receive no government support.
The Belleville Area Humane Society provides humane education and community outreach in order to promote animal welfare and eliminate overpopulation.
We are thankful to the hundreds of volunteers in our community who work closely with BAHS to provide the best possible care for our animals.
The Belleville Area Humane Society prides itself on providing a safe and clean shelter that is comfortable for our animals.
Position: Executive Director
Vrooman shares, ” I am coming in after and with the support of transformative leaders, two past executive directors, Katie Nelson and Shoshana Mostoller, an amazing staff already providing outstanding support in our community, and board members who believe passionately in animal welfare.
She goes on to say, “I am excited to discover many more friendships in order to uplift the mission of BAHS and to empower our team! I look forward to serving each of you and our community.”
Vrooman’s family includes an outstanding partner, two cool kiddos, and rescue pup Charity.
She possesses 28 years of servant leadership experience. Moving to the area as part of a military family, she went on to earn an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts from Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, Illinois, a Bachelor’s Degree in English Composition from Pierre Laclede Honors College at University of Missouri St. Louis, a Master’s Degree in Theory of Communication and Composition from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and most recently a Postgraduate Certificate from Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in Developing and Leading Effective Teams.
She taught at SWIC, McKendree, and SIUE while founding Tapestry of Community Offerings 501(c)(3) and the TOCO Textile Pantry and Shop.
In her next role as Director of AmeriCorps in Belleville, Illinois at SWIC, Kim also helped strengthen the community partnership between BAHS and AmeriCorps. Many AmeriCorps volunteers have dedicated thousands of hours in service the BAHS over the past twenty years.
While serving as a Director at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, Vrooman partnered with BAHS’s first Executive Director Katie Nelson in order to empower the collaboration between these two national organizations that both emphasize the importance of regional and local impact.
Business manager Ryan Moore brings experience in money and business management to his job. Aside from BAHS, he is a financial empowerment and literacy coach.
Ryan and his wife Stephanie are parents to three children – Ally and toddler twins, Cole and Easton. But it is their dog, Milo, who runs the house.
“He is a mutt,” Ryan said, proudly. “We call him a terrorist because he’s a terrier mix. He was supposed to be a cross between a Yorkie and Shih Tzu, but he’s 27 pounds.” He’s also very demanding so it’s a good thing he’s cute. “Everybody comes to the house to see him,” Ryan admitted. “If you don’t come to see him, he’ll cry till you acknowledge him.”
Like the Cowardly Lion, Milo is a tough guy who gets nervous sometimes. “Milo suffers from separation anxiety and we recently lost his four legged brother, so we’ve decided he needs a friend,” Ryan said. “Instead of taking home another dog permanently, my wife and I are going to foster a shelter dog and see how it goes. I’ve already warned the staff we’ll probably be a ‘foster fail.’ So get the paperwork ready.”
Position: Social Media Coordinator & Adoption Counselor
I have been fortunate to learn many jobs since I began working at BAHS in August of 2011. Currently, my focus is on animal care, photography, and social media.
I have always had a passion for charitable work with an emphasis on the most vulnerable in the community. No one is more vulnerable than our four-legged friends, and I’m privileged to be able to return the love they so selflessly give us.
Outside of my work here, I volunteer with CARES, another animal-focused non-profit, and spend time with my goofy English Bulldog, Lenore.
Position: Marketing Manager
BAHS marketing and development manager Shannon Gastreich brings a plethora of experience and expertise to her job. As a former co-owner of the Weingarten – a thriving Freeburg winery founded by her family – Shannon comes complete with business development, marketing and event planning skills.
“My job is a new position for BAHS, which is a sign of how much the shelter is growing,” she said.
Shannon’s family – which includes husband, Jeff, and daughter Stella, 4 – may be growing soon as well.“We have a cat named Bootie who we rescued from under the hood of a car,” she said, “but my
daughter would love to get a kitten.
One of Shannon’s best friends, Kaite Flamm, is co-founder of the St. Louis-based New Year for Strays trivia night, an annual event that raises thousands of dollars to benefit area shelters.
“Kaite inspired me to get involved with the animal welfare industry,” Shannon said. “Her love of pit bulls opened my eyes to the fact that they are gentle giants. I’m really excited for the opportunity to join the BAHS team!”
Position: Adoption Counselor
Adoption and Foster counselor Amanda Roos is a lifelong animal lover and the mother of five cats. She also feeds the feral kitties and wildlife that visit her yard. Don’t judge. It’s in her blood.
“My grandmother always had three or four dogs or three or four cats running around her home,” Amanda, 23, said and smiled. “They kept her company. And she fed the squirrels and the birds and raccoons too. So I guess I come by it naturally.”
A former college admission counselor, Amanda now spends her days matching potential adopters with animals, working on building the BAHS Foster program, and monitoring the Lost and Found Pet Reports for the county.
A newlywed whose husband, Elliott, also loves animals, she doesn’t hesitate when asked her favorite part of her job.
“I love working on the foster program to place animals with loving temporary homes while they wait on their forever homes. The BAHS Foster community is very dedicated to our mission and helping get animals out of the shelter. When an animal is placed into foster care, that opens up a space for us to take a new animal into the shelter and save another life. Rescue takes a village and I am proud to be a part of the BAHS village.” Amanda says.
Amanda, a recent graduate from Webster University with a Bachelors in Educational Studies and Masters in Community Engagement, is excited to continue her work with the BAHS community and animals.
Position: Intake Manager
Intake manager Dawn Blackwell has a shadow. A bulldog mix who looks more like a bullfrog, Wilma waddles behind the front desk giving “hugs” and melting hearts.
“It was kind of hard to resist her,” admitted Dawn, who adopted the snorting 2-year-old after starting work at the shelter.
Truth be told, Dawn finds most animals irresistible. “I was raised at the end of a dead-end street where people dumped off their unwanted cats and dogs. I found all of them homes after I vetted them. I guess that’s where my career in rescue began.”
These days, Dawn fosters puppies, kittens and special needs animals for BAHS and Gateway Pet Guardians.
Her daughter, Maddie, 15, supports her in her efforts.
“I won’t tell you how many pets I have,” she said and smiled, “but it’s a lot. It just kind of came natural, my love of animals. I like big, square heads.”
She also likes the saying, “Adopt a Pit. Don’t Listen to the Bull.”
Wilma likes that saying too.
“You can find just about any animal you’re looking for in a shelter. Big or small. And some of the biggest dogs can be some of the sweetest ones. I tell people not to pay attention to breeds. Pay attention to personalities.”
Position: Volunteer Coordinator
Volunteer coordinator Kelly Turner says she has found her niche.
“I really enjoy what I do,” said Kelly, a former public information specialist. “There’s never a dull moment when you work with people and animals.”
Some volunteers enjoy walking dogs and playing with cats, while others prefer cleaning and doing laundry. “We need volunteers to help with yard work, maintenance work, you name it. Not every job is glamorous but they are all really important.”
Each volunteer brings his own unique talents to the table. But loving animals is something everyone has in common.
At the moment, Kelly, who also mans the shelter’s front desk, is mother to Suzy, a 15-year-old dachshund and FooFoo, a 15-year-cat.
Married with four bonus kids, 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild, Kelly also enjoys cuddling with Macy, a boxer-mix puppy she adopted after starting work at BAHS.
She’s also fostered a host of kittens. That’s not something she’d ever thought she would do, but it’s very rewarding.
“My brother told me, ‘You can’t save them all,’” she said. “I know we’re full up for permanent residents at our house. It’s great to foster, however, which allows the humane society to save more animals. A great part of my job is seeing animals go to other good homes. There’s nothing better than watching a dog or cat ‘pick’ their people.”
Growing up in Belleville, Jorden always loved animals. She even did her NHS project at BAHS in 2012. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she went on to work on a pig farm. The piglets were great but the long hours and high volume of animals began to take its toll.
“I really love pigs. They are much smarter than dogs and can teach you a lot,” Jorden, 26, recalled. “After three years on the farm, I learned a lot, but living 5 hours away from my family was difficult. I was ready to move back and find my place.”
That place was BAHS. Today, the energetic adoption counselor and community outreach coordinator makes a difference in the lives of both humans and animals.
“Our dogs and cats go to great homes and we get to be a part of that process of finding them someone who loves them even more than we do,” she said. “We also get to educate the public, offer spay/neuter and vaccine clinics and help the low income families who come to our Pet Pantry.
“People will break down crying and say thank you. When someone is living paycheck to paycheck, a bag of dog food or flea protection for their pet can really make a difference. The sense of community at the pantry is one of my favorite parts of my job.”
When she’s not at the shelter, Jorden is mother to a terrier-mix named Kylie, a cat called Luna and BAHS alum dogs named Sully, Toby and Tyson. If that weren’t enough, she brings home foster animals every chance she gets.
“My fiancé is great,” she said, proudly. “He’s very supportive of me. Basically as long as I ask him beforehand, he’ll go along with just about anything. We’re both animal lovers so it works out really well. We’d both add more if we had the space”
Position: Shelter Assistant
Kat Vrieswyk, BAHS shelter assistant, discovered her love of animals at the young age of 8 when she helped her grandma foster kittens. Ever since then, Kat has had a passion for helping animals.
After high school, Kat attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and graduated with her Bachelors degree in Animal Science in 2019. Post graduation, Covid 19 struck hard on the job industry. Kat was offered a position at the Saint Louis Zoo working with the stingrays and sharks. This new found love for ocean animals expanded her love and knowledge for all animals. Working at the Saint Louis Zoo opened her eyes to how important zoos are to the world of animal welfare.
Kat has now found her way to BAHS as the new shelter assistant and is loving every minute of it. Currently she is helping with adoptions, animal enrichment, and everyday tasks around the shelter. Kat is excited to continue her journey at BAHS and expand her knowledge and love of helping animals.
Begin a rewarding career with BAHS. Click here to view our current openings and apply.
Our Board Members
Board President David Padgett combined his two passions – ice hockey and dog rescue – when naming his athletically-gifted pooches. Lab mix, Backes, is named for former Blues Captain David Backes. And Lab mix, Gordon, is the namesake of Hockey Hall of Famer Gordie Howe.
“I know firsthand the joy that companion animals bring into people’s lives,” David said, “and I want to help give other people this gift.”
Just as he played ice hockey competitively in high school and college, David plays hardball when it comes to saving animals’ lives. As part owner of Padgett Building and Remodeling Inc., he is instrumental in overseeing building maintenance at the shelter, when he’s not sharing his expertise on financial and membership drive committees. So deep is his dedication, he even encouraged his sister-in-law, Kristina Boron, and stepbrother, Steve Seibert, to join the board.
David’s wife Kim, an RN at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis, loves animals and ice hockey as much he does. The couple’s other shared passion — their new daughter Stella Lucille –is sure to follow in her parents’ footsteps!
Position: Vice President
Known as the Board’s resident cheerleader, Tricia’s optimism is contagious. From donning a giant bunny costume at our annual Doggy Easter Egg Hunt, to skillfully manning silent auction checkouts, Tricia is up for anything and everything.
“My love of animals and great experiences with fellow volunteers has kept me enthusiastic about the Humane Society,” explained the real estate broker with Strano & Associates in Belleville.
Tricia joined the board in 2011 after seeing the slogan “Until They All Have Homes” on the BAHS website. After years of helping people find their forever homes, she felt compelled to help animals do the same. “Shelter pets have so much love to give and will appreciate you more than you know!” Tialdo commented.
Tricia chairs the Race for Rescues 5K and enjoys that this family and canine friendly event brings the community together and has so much to offer its participants. “It’s a day filled with excitement, fun, fellowship and lots of tail wagging,” Tialdo said.
A member of the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois (RASI), Tricia was named the organization’s 2005 Realtor of the Year, as well as its 2013 Community Award recipient. She also served as the Association’s 2014 President. Tricia is involved with the Junior Service Club of St. Clair County and the St. Louis Kappa Alpha Theta Alumnae Association.
Tricia says volunteering and committing her time and energy to a cause she is passionate about is energizing. “It feels good to give back and make a difference in your community,” Tialdo added.
Her four-legged sons, a black English Lab rescue named Cam, and an Old English Sheepdog named Tucker, couldn’t be more proud of her efforts.
Journalist Michelle Meehan Schrader often writes about the antics of her colorful rescues in a bi-weekly column for the Belleville News-Democrat. BAHS’s longest-sitting (and sometimes standing) board member, she became a director in 2002 after seeing a pregnant dog running along the highway in rush hour traffic.
“Cars were whizzing by at 70 miles an hour,” she remembered. “I tried but there was no way I could get to her. This haunted me for weeks until I realized I couldn’t go back in time and rescue that dog — but there were other dogs I could help.”
Editor of the shelter’s newsletter and contributing feature writer for the BAHS website, Michelle can often be seen walking in BAHS parades, hawking our T-shirts and assisting with adoption and fundraising efforts. A lifelong animal lover, she lives in Smithton with her husband Mark, a Belleville attorney, and their two-legged son Sam.
Her four-legged children include a former farm cat named Malcolm and three BAHS alum: Lenny, a neurotic spaniel mix; Lola, a bossy Chihuahua with a penchant for frilly pink tutus and Captain Jack, a one-eyed Shih Tzu (whose story you can find on our website!)
Position: Board Member
As a child, I was always saving homeless animals whenever I could. Not much has changed. I’ve been a 14 year member of the BAHS board and it is truly rewarding work.
I’m very passionate about fostering. There is no feeling like it. Nursing a dog or cat back to health and then seeing it thrive in a new family is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I definitely have a soft spot for senior dogs and nic-u kittens. It’s nothing for me to be dragging a carrier with kittens to work everyday so they can get a bottle every two hours. My family owns and runs Tribout Bingo and Carnival in Belleville.
My favorite addition to BAHS in recent years has been the community outreach. I love the opportunity to keep an animal with their family thru our Pet Resource Pantry or the low-cost spay/neuter or vaccine clinics.
I also love organizing or helping with events. I chair Glo-Bingo when the times allow. And I’ve chaired the 5K, Pet Parade, Ice Cream Social and Doggie Egg Hunt in the past.
I am married to my husband, Jack. We have three children; Kayla, Brett & Todd. We senselessly lost our son, Brett in a car accident in April of 2019. Our family started our own foundation, Brett’s First Responders, to help first responders injured or killed NOT in the line of duty.
All of my four-legged children are rescues. We have four dogs; Penny, Diesel, Molly and Franny. And two cats; Henry and Sassy.
Position: Board Member
As a little girl, Noelle Miles dreamed of being a veterinarian. Her dreams came true – and so did ours – when this talented and compassionate professional began volunteering with BAHS.
“BAHS is an important part of my life because I am a companion animal veterinarian and took an oath to relieve animal suffering,” explained Dr. Miles, who works for Mueller Veterinary Services in Columbia, IL. “Many of the animals we take in have been neglected and are suffering both physically and emotionally.”
Since joining our board a dozen years ago, Dr. Miles has treated hundreds of homeless animals pro bono. The mother of BAHS alum Fenway, a border collie, and HSMO rescue Charlie, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, she visits the shelter on her days off to perform spays and neuters. An avid runner, Dr. Miles also assists with our annual Race for Rescues.
We cannot thank her enough!
Position: Board Treasurer
Cori Jurgensmeyer can’t imagine her life without pets.
“I don’t’ have children. I have two dogs – Mack and Charlie,” she said. “They’re my babies.”
Before joining the BAHS board, Cori, who works in finance for Nestle Purina, was a dedicated shelter volunteer.
“I started volunteering after participating in the Slumber Pawty fundraiser. I would do Dog Day Out – taking a dog out for a day trip – or weekend fostering.”
When the pandemic struck and Cori began working from home, she transitioned into fulltime fostering.
“The first time one of my foster’s got adopted, I cried,” she remembered. “It’s still hard but I always feel better when I see them go into a good home. It’s great when they become part of a family.”
Cori’s four-legged family — Mack and Charlie – will travel with her returns to the office.
“We can bring our pets to work, as long as they’re well behaved,” she said. “I have two beds in my cube area – one on one side and one on the other side. It’s nice to have them with me.”
Cori’s dedication to animals traces back to her childhood.
“I would spend the summers with my grandma. She lived on a farm and she had dogs and cats and cows and chickens. I believe I got my passion for animals from her.”
Helping animals find homes brings Cori great joy and fulfillment. “I joined the board because I wanted to do something to help the shelter and give back to the community,” she said. “BAHS is doing some great programs. I want to be part of that. And I hope I can continue fostering in the future.”
Position: Board Member
Kristina came “on board” in 2016 after attending a variety of BAHS events, where she had the opportunity to really see what the organization was about. “From Spaghetti dinners, to GLO Bingo, or even a 5k Race, BAHS has done amazing over the years in hosting all types of events to raise awareness. I joined the board to help keep that awareness going and make a difference in the lives of shelter animals.”
She is pictured with her adorable nephew dog, Captain, a beagle mix, and a BAHS alumni, who she helped her family adopt. She knows firsthand the joy adoption can bring. “I knew that when my family was ready to adopt in 2010, it would be from BAHS,” she said proudly.
While Kristina enjoys and values ALL the events BAHS host, the Howl’oween Pet Parade and Costume Contest are especially dear. As a Co-Chair, this family friendly event spotlights the family pets and encourages the whole family to come out and support their community.
Outside of Board responsibilities, Kristina works for a bank and appreciates how her company encourages employees to use their volunteer hours within their community. “We have a whole site vested in giving back, it’s so rewarding to see!”
“I strongly believe that owning a shelter pet brings joy and entertainment,” she said. “They display an appreciation and loyalty that makes them a valuable asset to any family.”
Belleville business owner and animal lover Cathy Dervalis played a role in BAHS’s success long before she joined our Board of Directors. The proprietor of Dog Day Afternoon pet supply store and grooming has long- hosted an annual Doggy Ice Cream Social at her shop to benefit the shelter. Over the years, she also has sponsored various BAHS events and selflessly volunteered to groom shelter dogs on her days off.
Cathy and her husband, Dan, have two adult children – son, Jacob and daughter, Dani – five grandchildren, three dogs, a cat and a blue-fronted Amazon Parrot named Grady.
Because parrots can live up to 50 years, Cathy – who has been involved with parrot rescue – has made plans for her daughter to adopt Grady should the bird outlive her. Finding homes for wayward animals has always been her passion.
“I used to belong to Gateway Golden Rescue,” she said. “I can’t tell you how many Golden Retrievers I’ve had in my house over the years. I would do pick-ups and home checks. When my grooming clients can’t keep their pets, I help them find good homes for them.
“I’ve just always loved animals – all kinds of animals,” added the business owner, who is a talented amateur photographer. “There is such a need for rescue. I’m excited to join the BAHS board.”
Position: Board Member
As a child, board member Edith Gray would ride her tricycle around the neighborhood, looking for animals to befriend.
“There was this really mean dognamed Bonzo,” Edith recalled. “My mother said one day I pedaled up to him and she was alarmed for my safety. She said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I was talking to Bonzo. But he doesn’t talk so much.’”
Known for her outgoing personality and huge smile, Edith serves as assistant director of human resources for the SIUE East St. Louis campus, when she isn’t teaching fitness classes. Despite her hectic schedule, she always finds time to help animals.
“All my dogs are recues,” she said. “They’re like my children. I can’t imaginelife without them.”
Her four-legged family includes Grayson, a schnauzer-sheltie mix; Lauren, a white schnauzer and Keegan, a wild-and-crazy West Highland terrier. “Keegan is my devil dog from hell. But I love him. What can I say?”
She also loves the shelter’s initiatives, including adoption, education, spay and neuter and helping keep pets in their forever homes.
“I’ve always wanted to volunteer, to give back,” she said, proudly. “And this is a perfect way to do it.”
BAHS’ save rate is 98%. This is determined by subtracting our shelter euthanasia rate from our total intake and then dividing by total intake.BAHS is a limited admission shelter. This means we intake adoptable animals and never euthanize for shelter space. Please contact us at 1-866-951-0247 with any questions.