Calm in Crisis

This shed used to be completely full.

This shed is where, for months, we held all of our food for our Pet Food Pantry. Our food pantry happens every month and in 2020 we served 103,500 meals. So far in July 2021, we’ve already served over 50,000. 

And now this lifeline for hundreds of pets in our community is empty. A raccoon burrowed into the shed. Due to the danger of distemper and other diseases, once we discovered evidence of the raccoon, we had to destroy all of the food. We take the health and safety of every pet in our community extremely seriously. Every pet deserves safe and nutritious food.

Here’s what happened next: 

The Operations Manager immediately dropped what she was doing to glove up and start lifting. 

And the Placement Counselor. And the Cleaning Ambassador. And the whole intake team. And the Volunteer Manager. And the Administrative Assistant. Although it was her first day and she was mid-orientation, our newest volunteer joined in the effort too. And a volunteer who’d already left for the day u-turned his car and came back to disinfect the whole area. 

Our point is that when something hard happens at the Belleville Area Humane Society, we rally together for the animals. All of that food was earmarked for community animals – none of it was for adoptable ones, but that didn’t stop the entire shelter team from jumping into action. (In fact we suspect nothing would have stopped them from helping).

Here’s what DIDN’T happen:

Food pantry isn’t cancelled. It isn’t even delayed. Outreach Manager Jorden immediately called our friends and asked for food. 1500lbs is on its way to refill this shed as you’re reading this. 

(We didn’t pay retail to replace this food. Thanks to our network of friends, we get about 5x the amount of food per dollar). 

And we didn’t panic. 

The reason we didn’t panic is because of YOU. We know that when something hard happens, you are there for us because you’re always there for us. Your monthly membership gift means our mission to help animals is sustainable. We’ve learned hard stuff is going to happen over the course of 62 years. When you’re a monthly member of BAHS, your gift means we’ll be here for the next 62 years helping animals and thriving. Please become a member.

BAHS responds to covid-19

BAHS has been closed to the public for close to two months now.  A year ago, we never could have predicted the many ways that we have all been affected by the COVID-19 virus.

Our organization has completely changed the way our shelter runs. We are still working tirelessly to help animals and people, but we have moved to an appointment-based system for adoption, foster, intake, and community outreach.  This allows us to better manage the traffic coming into the shelter and provide better service to adopters now that so many of our animals are in foster.

Adoption, foster, and intake are all up since this time last year.  Not only are the BAHS staff working harder than ever to bring in animals that need our help and find them new homes, but the community has been working right by our side as adopters and fosters.  Your help has allowed us to cut the time that animals are in our care by more than 50%.  That’s right, more animals are finding homes, and they are finding their homes faster than ever.

At BAHS, we know that members of our community are struggling during this difficult time.  Our pets are our family and no one should have to give up a beloved pet due to financial hardship.  We are providing free supplies to the community to help people keep their pets. We have created a drive-through pet resource pantry that provides people with the supplies they need while keeping them safe and healthy.  What do we do when someone doesn’t have transportation?  We deliver! 

What else helps keep animals in their homes?  Free dog training for the community.  Anyone can tune in weekly for our free dog training sessions that are being held virtually on Zoom.

BAHS is looking for innovative ways to help the community during this challenging time and we can’t do it alone.  Every person who adopts, fosters, donates, or shares our Facebook posts and emails is a part of the solution and we thank you!

Here are some of the animals that you have helped…

Tiger lost his beloved owner to COVID. He is currently being treated for Heartworms.
Stray cat and new mom Florence took on two extra kittens after their mother was tragically attacked by another animal.
Jolene still plays with joy despite the loss of her leg.

Family fun for the summer

During the summer, BAHS offers a Junior Volunteer program, giving children a chance to come to the shelter, make crafts and learn about pet-related topics. 

Although COVID-19 has closed our shelter to the public, it has not put an end to our Junior Volunteer program.  Our program can now be found on our Facebook pagestreaming Liveon Fridays at 2pm and Sundays at 1pm.

Your family can join the nearly 5,000 people who have already tuned in to learn:

* How to care for your pet

* What to do when you lose your pet

* Pet body language

* What foods are safe for our pets

*And more!

We also read shelter-themed stories and share pet-friendly snack recipes. Make a craft along with us and share pictures in the Facebook comment section! 

Find out about our planned activities on the BAHS Junior Volunteers Facebook pageThen, tune in Fridays and Sundays to join the live stream fun on our main Facebook page!

What would you like to learn about? 

Send us an idea for our junior volunteers live-stream & you’ll be entered to win a prize!

BAHS would like to thank Archford Capital Strategies for funding our youth education programs through an Archford Angels grant.

So you’ve found some kittens.

Now what?

The weather is warming up and that means kittens, kittens, kittens. Here at BAHS, our phone lines are hit with daily calls from caring community members who want to help the vulnerable animals they’ve found in their neighborhoods.

Is removing a kitten from it’s environment a good idea? It may feel counter-intuitive, but it’s not always the most beneficial move for the cats. If you’ve stumbled across kittens, follow these steps before you take action:

Are the kittens visibly sick? Bring them to a vet or clinic as soon as possible. If they seem healthy, take the following steps:

Determine the age of the kittens. Follow the guide we’ve provided to estimate the age of the kittens. We’ve also found this more detailed guide from The Kitten Lady helpful.

If cats are four weeks and under, do not touch or move them. Kittens this young are still nursing. Their chance of survival dramatically decreases when they’re unable to eat from mom.

Watch to see if the mother cat returns. Cats can be away from kittens for up to six hours.

If mom is away for six or more hours, determine a course of action. This is when kittens should be moved.

Life is challenging enough without kittens to care for, so our first instinct is often to hand animals over to shelters or rescues. Many think this is best for the kitten but is it? Even the most well-staffed and dedicated shelter professionals are often tasked with caring for dozens of animals along with other duties. Kittens need 24/7 care and will often do better in a home where they can be given individual attention.

So now that you’ve decided to move the kittens, where should they go?

Keep them yourself. It may seem daunting, but anyone can learn to care for kittens. Kittens can often be confined to a single room or even a safe, temperature controlled garage. If you need advice, supplies, or resources, you can contact BAHS or you can ask to care for kittens as a part of our foster program. If you choose not to foster, you can safely adopt out kittens eight weeks or older through

Ask a friend, loved one, or neighbor to keep the kittens. If you cannot care for the kittens, reach out to others to find assistance. You can call around or utilize social media, group texts, or email to find helpers in your trusted circle.

Once you’ve exhausted the above options, you can then contact your local shelter.

While we may not always be able to take your found kittens, we are here to support and help you. Finding kittens can be stressful. Take a breath and reach out. Your compassion is the first step to keeping our local cats safe and well.

“Sickly” Xena Gets a Personal Vet

“She made our daughter so happy.”

“URGENT – these 2 One year old kitties (one male and one female ) NEED OUT. They have upper respiratory infections and are NOT DOING WELL.”

This was the message posted on the Stray Angels Facebook page about Xena and Xavier, brother and sister cats in dire straights. With the help of staff at Animal Control, we transferred them to BAHS where they were put under the care of manager and vet tech, Tammy Allen. We crossed our fingers that they would make it… and they did!

Fully recovered, their sweet personalities emerged and both were adopted. Xena is now with the Hommel family, receiving regular check ups from a future vet. 

“We just adopted this beautiful little girl named Xena. She made our daughter so happy. She fits right in with our family and she is not at all scared of our two dogs. She is very curious and lovable.”

Thank you, Hommel family and thank you to all who worked together to save Xena and Xavier!

A ‘Tail’ of Two Jeffs

He-Man’s ride home
He-Man loves to go to the gym!

“I’ve become his person.”

Jeffrey came to us from Animal Control and quickly became a staff favorite. With his loyalty, love, and eagerness to learn, he stole our hearts.

We wondered who the perfect owner for our super intelligent guy would be… and then another Jeff walked through the door! Could it be fate? We think so and so does Jeff’s new dad, Jeff Rohr.

“This guy has changed my life for the better in less than three weeks. He’s spoiled rotten, get tons of attention, and goes with me practically everywhere.”

But this tail of two Jeffs ends in a surprise.

“After about three days of calling him ‘Jeff’ it got weird lol. […] We went out to walk and when we come in I always take all his gear off of him. He pulled, and I said, “Woah! Calm down, He-Man.”

When I said He-Man he got all excited. So I took his stuff off and said “He-Man!” He sat up all proud in perfect attention and posture. I said, ‘I think we figured it out.’ He responds to it well and has since the day we changed it.

He picked it, not me.”

But the newly-dubbed He-Man will never forget his roots.

“He was definitely meant to be mine and I’ve become his person. After all, he had my name on him!”

Happy tails to He-Man (The Artist Formerly Known As Jeff)!