Columbia's Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary closing after 14 years

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 | 5:59 p.m. CDT; updated 11:02 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 14, 2012

COLUMBIA — Happy Tails Animal Sanctuary, which has been providing care and finding homes for animals in danger of being euthanized, is closing its doors after 14 years, said co-founder Jim Johnson.

Johnson said he doesn't know how Happy Tails' closure will affect Columbia, but he doesn't think it will have a huge effect on the animal population.


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Johnson said other rescue groups such as Project Precious Paws are popping up in Columbia and can pick up any slack that might result from Happy Tails' closure. He also noted that Second Chance is still here to help as well.

"The Humane Society does a tremendous job given the monumental task they have," he said.

The Central Missouri Humane Society took in the same number of animals in January and February as it did at that time last year.

While that number has remained constant, the number of animals sent to rescue is up 64 percent, adoptions are up 16 percent and the euthanasia rate is down 53 percent, according to a Humane Society news release.

Colin LaVaute, shelter relations coordinator for the Central Missouri Humane Society, said the Humane Society didn't work with Happy Tails much.

"It's unfortunate that Happy Tails had to close, however, things will be business as usual here," he said. "We will still have open doors to every animal that needs help."

Johnson was on the board of the Central Missouri Humane Society from 1990 to 1995. After this term, Johnson said he and fellow board member Susan Hatfield decided they had done what they could there and wanted to do something different, so they established Happy Tails with their spouses.

Happy Tails has helped about 200 animals find homes each year over the past 14 years, and there are still 14 or 15 cats and dogs that need to find homes, Johnson said.

Some other animals aren't adoptable but will live out their lives with Johnson and his wife.

Now that Happy Tails is closing, Johnson said he will be helping another rescue group develop and also wants to get involved with the Humane Society in Boonville.

"I won't be in charge of anything, but I want to help," Johnson said.

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