Renovations at the Central Missouri Humane Society spur new adoptions

Saturday, September 18, 2010 | 9:49 p.m. CDT; updated 11:32 p.m. CDT, Saturday, September 18, 2010
Sassy, a six-year-old Airedale Terrier Labrador, drools in one of the new dog rooms on Saturday. Facility renovations have been valued at $600,000.

COLUMBIA – Nine years ago, Maggie was an underweight, sick kitten waiting to be adopted from the Central Missouri Humane Society.

Columbia resident Christine Heidenreich lived alone at the time and had recently broken her back. She wanted companionship, something she said she found in Maggie.


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“We kind of saved each other,” Heidenreich said. “I kept her warm and she brought me through some hard physical times.”

She said Maggie is like her third child.

Heidenreich came to the society's open house on Saturday to show her support for the new renovations. She wasn’t looking to adopt but she enjoyed seeing all the animals. 

The renovation was awarded as a prize in a contest sponsored by

John Shrum, president of the society’s board of directors, thanked the audience at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“This is the day that one chapter closes and another one opens,” he said.

Some of the renovations include:

  • Glass doors on cages for the dogs.
  • New “cat condos” – each condo includes a main room and two side rooms for the cats to live in.
  • A better air circulating system that helps minimize odor and disease.
  • A new epoxy floor in place of the old cement one.

Alan Allert, executive director of the shelter, said the renovations are great for both the animals and visitors.

“It’s a much more pleasant environment,” he said.

The funding came through the help of two local girls, Amanda Huhman, 14, and Libby Burks, 14, who entered the Humane Society in the ZooToo contest.

Both girls began volunteering at the shelter at a young age. Burks started when she was in second grade, and Huhman started in third grade after adopting a beagle basset hound from the shelter.

“We would always volunteer here and we saw it needed a makeover,” Huhman said.

The girls took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We just want to thank all of the community members,” Burks said.

Allert said he has already seen improvements in adoption rates since the renovations.

“Adoptions have been up,” he said. “A lot of people come in to look at the improvements and they take an animal home.”

That was the case with Ben Hestir, 14, who came to adopt a cat at the open house.

“We came here looking around,” he said. “There’s definitely a need to adopt cats and dogs. You can’t take them all so I thought I’d start with one.”

Hestir started by looking around at the cats, playing with them and holding them to observe their mannerisms. One of the staff members suggested he take a look at Baxter, a white-and-black spotted cat playing in the exercise room. Hestir played with the cat for a few minutes before making a decision.

“Baxter is looking really good,” he finally told the staff.

Two animals had been adopted as of 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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Ray Shapiro September 19, 2010 | 3:49 a.m.

Hey, "Humane" Society:
Kill any healthy dogs lately?

(Report Comment)
Bill Fisher September 19, 2010 | 8:30 a.m.

Ray, that's an absurd question.

...Of course they have. Probably doing it right now, in fact.

(Report Comment)
Sarah Owens September 23, 2010 | 10:15 a.m.

Ray, I have to ask. Have you done anything to help curb the pet overpopulation problem lately? Adopted a dog or cat? Donated to a shelter to support the care, feeding and medical needs of homeless pets? Spayed or neutered animals of your own? Perhaps that would be a more effective way to reduce euthanasia numbers than belittling an organization doing a job no other agency in the area wants to do.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 23, 2010 | 11:05 a.m.

@Sarah Owens:
Yes I have.
What I don't do is kill healthy dogs and cats.
What I find odd is that the Humane Society in Columbia blames irresponsible pet owners for the reason that the Humane Society kills healthy pets.
May I suggest that the "Humane" Society in Columbia get out of the killing of healthy pets business.
How can they be proud of doing this?
(BTW, how many healthy dogs and cats are killed by the Humane Society in Columbia each year? Even just one would be too many for me.)

(Report Comment)
carla thomas March 23, 2011 | 5:54 a.m.

have they ever heard of nokill? if there was a nation wide spay and nueter law there wouldn,t be a problem.

(Report Comment)
carla thomas March 23, 2011 | 5:57 a.m.

the stray hold is 7 days and owner surrenders are 4 days even if they are healthy.which is sad.maybe our shelter should start partnering with nokill shelters maybe some animals could be transfered to nokill shelters in the area.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield March 23, 2011 | 7:53 a.m.

"maybe our shelter should start partnering with nokill shelters maybe some animals could be transfered to nokill shelters in the area."

CMHS has for years. Thumb through the logbooks behind the counter, and on many pages you'll see notes such as "CSC Will Consider." Those notes identify animals that are going to no-kills such as Second Chance and adoption hubs such as the one in Quincy, Ill.

(Report Comment)

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