Please Note:

Effective Tuesday, March 17th, the Belleville Area Humane Society will be utilizing an “Appointment Only” Adoption Process.

The health and safety of our team members and animals is our top priority. Therefore, we are limiting exposure and following sanitatino procedures as recommended by the CDC.

To make an appointment or for questions, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 618-235-3712.

Thank you and stay safe.

Dog Allergy Information


 Do you suffer from pet allergies? Are you afraid you might have to give up your dog on account of your allergies? If so, we can help! Follow the advice bellow to reduce allergy-causing dander in your home and on your pet:

  • Wash your pet weekly in lukewarm water using a dander removing allergy shampoo to reduce pet dander.
  • Have someone without pet allergies brush the pet outside regularly.
  • Vacuum and dust frequently using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Clean pillows, clothing, curtains, cushions, and pet beds often.
  • Do not allow your pet in your bedroom to give your body a break from allergen exposure.


   Here are some dander-removing products to try: Allersearch, Allerpet D (contains gluten), Four Paws Magic Coat, Nature’s Miracle, and SheaPet.

Captain Jack


I didn’t mean to fall hard for Captain Jack. It just happened. One of those crazy, beyond-your-control, heart-pounding love connections you read about in romance novels. Yes, he was short and shaggy with a flat face and a raspy growl. But that isn’t what did it for me. What did it for me was the fact he only had one eye.

One perfectly round, perfectly trusting, chocolate-drop-adorable eyeball that tugged at my heartstrings and made me weak in the knees. According to Captain Jack’s back story, a bulldog had taken out his other eye long before I met him at a Belleville Area Humane Society Adoption event five years ago.

“Get ready ‘cause I’m about to beg you,” I texted my husband, who was reeling in bass somewhere in Kentucky. “There’s this dog I really want to foster. Before you say no, let me tell you about him.”

Jack now shares our bed. He snorts. I snore. And Mark, well, he talks about getting earplugs.

“It was supposed to be temporary,” he reminded me as Jack begged for carrots at the kitchen table.

Did I mention Jack could go vegan in a heartbeat? He prefers mangoes and watermelon to chicken and steak. Not sure why he has a weight problem, though it may have something to do with all the peanut butter.

“I love him,” I told my husband. “But don’t worry. I love you, too.”

“Maybe if I winked all the time you’d love me more.”

“Are you making fun of Jack’s condition?”

“Nothing funny about it,” he said. “That dog has you wrapped around his paw.”

This was never more evident than the day I brought home Lola, a 7-pound chihuahua who took on a Rottweiler before I rescued her from the shelter.

Lola barked at Jack. She pushed him away from his food bowl. She glared into his lone eye and snarled.

Ever the sensitive Shih Tzu, Jack stopped eating his mangoes. I couldn’t stand to watch his self-esteem plummet. So I did my best to embolden him.

“You’re spoiling him, Mom,” observed my son Sam, as I rocked Jack in my arms like a baby while dropping strips of cantaloupe into his mouth. “I know you’re trying to make up for Lola bullying him — but you’ve taken it too far.”

He was right. All that doting had gone to Jack’s head.

My once well-behaved Shih Tzu made me chase him in the yard. He also refused to eat his dog food unless it was garnished with cheese. Not just any cheese. Sharp cheddar with a sprinkling of Parmesan on top.

Last Halloween, I dressed Jack as a pirate with a little patch over his missing eye. He should have worn a black, leather motorcycle jacket. That’s the kind of bad boy he’s become.

These days, Lola and Jack get along fairly well. If they don’t share a mutual respect, they do share a throw on the couch. And though Lola still scarfs down Jack’s dog food, she leaves his watermelon alone.

Yes, for a one-eyed Jack, he’s got it made in the shade.

Well, actually the central air. Jack doesn’t go outside much in the summer.

Purrrfect Touch – Cat Whisperer Works Magic With Shelter Cats


By Michelle Meehan Schrader

The card attached to the blue-grey feline’s cage states the basics: Name: Little Girl. Age: 4 years. Spayed and up-to-date on shots.  There is no room on the card for Little Girl’s backstory.  But Nelson Barazza, aka The Cat Whisperer, knows it by heart.

“I have pictures of her the first day she came here,” says Nelson, whipping out his cellphone. “Look. You can see in her eyes how stressed she was. She just lay in her litter box, peering out, so afraid.”

What a difference a few weeks makes. When Little Girl hears Nelson’s voice, she looks up with big yellow eyes. The Cat Whisperer opens her cage and rubs her furry head. She purrs and leans into his hand.

“I’ve been working with her,” Nelson, 68, a retired Marriott Hotel banquet captain from Belleville, explains. “She is such a good girl. I know she will find a home soon.”

Like the cat, Nelson has a backstory: A former political prisoner, he fled to the United States from Chile in 1977 with the help of Human Rights International and the Lutheran Church.

“I don’t talk much about those days,” says Nelson, who quietly volunteers at the shelter three days a week. “There were people in the concentration camp with me who were killed or disappeared.  I was one of the lucky ones. I believe I survived for a reason.”

More often than not, that reason purrs and walks on four legs.

“See, here are the kittens I rescued from the woods in my backyard,” he says, thumbing through more photos on his cellphone. “I kept the mother cat, Lola, and I brought the kittens here.”

Nelson’s pal wound up adopting one of the kittens – a chubby boy named Bear. Another kitten, Lulu, also found a home.

“Buddy was the last one left of the litter,” Nelson remembers. “I would come to the shelter and visit him. I could tell from looking in his eyes, he was depressed.  I took a picture of him and sent it to my wife. She let me bring him back home.”

Nelson’s ability to connect with felines is what earned him the nickname The Cat Whisperer.

“The cats that come in that are tense, or scared or aggressive ― the ones that are afraid and just don’t want you to touch them – he works with them,” shelter employee Amanda Graham explains. “He is wonderful. He’s just a very kind, gentle man.”

Not to mention patient.

“When I process the cats, if they’re too scared, I talk to them, so they hear my voice,” Nelson explains. “After a while ― when they’re ready to let me ― I put my hand in and pet them. Lots of times when they’re here, they might be coming from a bad situation. I don’t know what kind of trauma they went through.”

But he knows he can help calm their fears.

“I’ve been waiting my whole life to find my calling,” Nelson says, as Little Girl peers out of her cage. “I believe strongly in a higher power. I believe I was meant to be here to help these cats. It’s not about me. It’s about them.

“We humans have the ability to help each other and to help the animals. I think that’s why God put us here. To help the ones that can’t help themselves.”

Nelson Barazza discusses his philosophy about cats.