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livpaggiarino / Liv Paggiarino/MISSOURIAN//  

Missouri defensive back Khalil Oliver stretches to make a catch during a drill at practice.

The clock is ticking for abandoned pets in rural Missouri
 Emily Wolf  / 

Two dogs chained and abandoned in a Rocheport trailer park for the last four months might be running out of time.

The dogs, Able and Blackie, have been cared for by a patchwork of volunteers since their owners got behind on their rent and left last spring.

Kenneth Boggs, owner of the EZ Land Inc. trailer park, is losing patience.

clairethassler / Claire Hassler 

Nancy Shepherd, co-chair of Pet Adoption and Welfare Service, pets Blackie on Friday at EZ Land Inc. near Rocheport. PAWS became involved with the two abandoned dogs in the trailer park on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, and the organization is currently looking for a new home for them.

“If they stay any longer, I’m gonna go and have to get them euthanized,” Boggs said Friday.

Nancy Shepherd, co-chairman of PAWS, a rescue organization based in Fayette, said the group has been looking for homes for the dogs but have few options left.

With just five volunteers, PAWS has been checking on the dogs but hasn’t been able to find foster homes for them. Barbara Doyle, the manager of the trailer park on County Road 433, said she tries to check on Able and Blackie when she can.

Rocheport has no animal shelter, and the shelter in Fayette can only keep dogs for five business days.

The situation reflects not only the scarce resources for abandoned animals in rural Missouri but the pressure on larger, overpopulated shelters as well.

“We have nothing,” Shepherd said.

The dogs are chained to stakes behind the empty trailer with few places to escape the summer heat. A dog house on the property can hold just one animal.

One of the dogs is also prone to escaping the chain, which could prove fatal in a trailer park.

“There’s plenty of people out here that would just shoot her,” Boggs said.

Able is an older male dog, and Blackie is an energetic young female dog. Both dogs have been spayed or neutered.

Neighbors have been feeding them with food supplied by PAWS, which is also working to provide veterinary care.

Shepherd said PAWS has been in contact with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office but was told the authorities couldn’t do anything.

“I would go to the state,” said veterinary behaviorist Colleen Koch. “Animals and children and elders fall through the cracks.”

Animals abandoned in rural areas are often left in limbo, and even government agencies are often too strapped to help.

“There are not enough places for animals to go and for people to investigate these matters satisfactorily,” Koch said. “Counties are overburdened.”

clairethassler / Claire Hassler 

Nancy Shepherd plays with Able and Blackie on Friday in EZ Land Inc. trailer park near Rocheport. "If they stay any longer, I'm going to go and have to get them euthanized," said Kenneth Boggs, owner of EZ Land Inc.

The shelter in Fayette tries to find foster homes for strays, but it’s a small operation. Robin Tritelett, who works for the city of Fayette, said the shelter hasn’t had to euthanize an animal in the last three to four years.

If the shelter can’t find a dog’s owner, it relies on organizations like PAWS and other community volunteers to step in.

“I would say that about 60 percent (of dogs) have owners in town, and 40 percent have been abandoned,” Tritelett said.

No one expects Able and Blackie’s owners to return. Under Missouri law, owners who knowingly fail to provide adequate care are committing a class A misdemeanor, but absent owners are difficult to prosecute.

Taking animals to a larger shelter isn’t always an option, either. The Central Missouri Humane Society in Columbia is often at or near maximum capacity. Just last week, the Humane Society took in almost 50 cats and several other animals from a home and announced that it can no longer take cats.

Shepherd said PAWS has already taken care of 156 animals this year. The organization has spent about $3,180 in 2019 paying vet bills for fosters, and they work with the Spay Neuter Project in Columbia to provide low cost spay and neuter surgeries.

PAWS paid for Blackie’s rabies, distemper and parvo vaccinations, and Shepherd said PAWS will pay for Able’s shots, as well.

He was an inside dog before his owners put him out on the chain, Doyle said.

“I don’t want him to die like this,” she said. “His last days shouldn’t have to be like this.”

clairethassler / Claire Hassler 

Able walks as far as his chain will allow Friday in EZ Land Inc. near Rocheport. Barbara Doyle said she thinks the dog is about 12 years old. "His last days shouldn't have to be like this," Doyle said.

clairethassler / Claire Hassler/Missourian  

Barbara Doyle, manager of EZ Land, Inc., trailer park, reaches out to pet Able, an abandoned dog, Friday near Rocheport. Doyle said Able and a second dog, Blackie, were chained outside a trailer for the past three to four months in the park.

Standing tall at Pride
 Grace Glander  / 

Audrey Kuhne and Keriana Kyle, both 13, patiently waited for the gates to open outside the festival. This was their first time attending a Pride event.

“I’ve always wanted to go,” Kuhne said. “I’m originally from Moberly, and it’s a really small town so there was never Pride. We just want to support the community.”

Both girls were excited to see what the festival was like and to be around people who shared their sexual orientation.

“With me, I always grew up around different types of people, like gay people or different religions, so I’ve always been open about it,” Kyle said.

Lia Waldrum / Lia Waldrum  

Ben Lopez, left, and Lux Kween dress up for MidMO PrideFest on Saturday at Rose Music Hall. The event is free to the community and includes entertainment, food, vendors and informational booths.

The MidMO PrideFest has been an annual event for 15 years. The festival “allows us to not only celebrate our identities and the things that make us unique, but it also gives the community an opportunity to show their support to their LGBTQ neighbors, friends, employees and customers,” according to its website.

On Saturday, the festival unfolded at Rose Music Hall with an abundance of performers, food trucks and vendors. Hundreds of people flowed onto the closed-off streets when the festival began at 1 p.m.

Vendors handed out pamphlets, T-shirts and stickers to passersby.

Jacob Moscovitch / Jacob Moscovitch/Missourian  

Joshua Jackson, who identifies as gay, stands with his friends during MidMO PrideFest on Saturday at Rose Music Hall. “Since coming out, I’ve been living my best life,” he said. “I love being myself, being able to love myself and love everyone.”

Karis Agnew, 24, is the field director for the statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, PROMO, which sponsored the event.

“Our goal is to engage with our local communities and let them know the advocacy work that is happening in our state and asking them to become involved,” Agnew said.

Agnew loved how MidMO PrideFest brought in people from outside Columbia and fostered community.

“They can see people like them, they are validated, they are seen, and they are safe, and I think that’s what every Pride means to all of us,” Agnew said. 

Jacob Moscovitch / Jacob Moscovitch  

Drag performer Musica Malone speaks with festival attendees during MidMO PrideFest on Saturday at Rose Music Hall. Malone has been performing for more than 20 years.

Bands like The Unincorporated, a rock band from Iowa, performed onstage while people ate, drank, danced and laughed.

Tammy Clovens, 50, is a first-time volunteer for MidMO PrideFest.

“The world needs to know that we are out here, and I think it’s a great cause,” Clovens said. “It’s just a really great place for people to mingle and get together and be like family.”

Supervising editor is Claire Colby.

Lia Waldrum / Lia Waldrum  

Sidney Hanson, left, and Grace Gomez attend MidMO PrideFest on Saturday at Rose Music Hall. MidMO PrideFest is an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community.

Jacob Moscovitch / Jacob Moscovitch 

Jason and Ben Stephen, freshman twins from Hickman High School who identify as gay, display their hand fans during MidMO PrideFest on Saturday at Rose Music Hall. "It's our diverse community," Ben Stephen said.

Lia Waldrum / Lia Waldrum/Missourian  

Rebekah Robertson puts temporary tattoos on attendees at MidMO PrideFest on Saturday at Rose Music Hall. Robertson is volunteering for First Baptist Church.

Jacob Moscovitch / Jacob Moscovitch 

From right, Callum Duggan, 3, Neve Duggan, 6, and their father, Lawrence Duggan, listen to a MidMO PrideFest musical performance Saturday at Rose Music Hall. Before the drag show in the evening, young community members performed. 

MU sees increase in students living on campus, joining Greek life
 sarahstraughn  / 

After having to close several dorms in 2017 because of a decline in enrollment, MU now has more students both living on campus and choosing to join Greek life.

More than 6,700 students chose to live in the residential halls this year, according to a news release from MU. There was also a 42% increase in the number of returning students who chose to live in the dorms again.

MU partnered with three apartment complexes to establish other “residential experiences” for students. The three complexes are the Rise on 9th on Ninth Street, U Centre on Turner Avenue and Campus Lodge on Old 63. MU is currently contracting 760 units in the private complexes, with 330 unitsoccupied by first-time freshmen, MU spokeswoman Liz McCune said.

MU has lowered costs of housing and dining for students in an effort to help them live on campus. These rate decreases allowed eight out of 10 on campus students to pay less for housing this year, according to the release.

Greek life saw a jump in students participating this year. Both the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association had more people register to join their organizations.

The council had a 90% increase with more than 500 men registering to participate in recruitment, making it the third-largest formal recruitment class ever at MU. This year, the council changed its recruitment schedule from its typical date to the week before classes started.

“Moving IFC recruitment to coincide with move-in week and Panhellenic recruitment was a major benefit to young men interested in joining fraternities,” MU Dean of Students Jeff Zeilenga said in the release.

The Panhellenic Association had more than 1,400 women participate, which was an increase of 20% from last year.

“From making the Greek recruitment process align with students’ schedules to improving our residential life experience, we are committed to providing the best campus experience to students,” Vice Provost for Student Affairs Bill Stackman said in the release.

On Monday, MU reported that 5,459 freshmen started classes, which is up 16% from last year.

“We continue to emphasize to our students that getting involved at Mizzou is incredibly beneficial to their success,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “We work every day to ensure our state’s flagship university is accessible, affordable and safe.”

Supervising editor is Tynan Stewart.

MU alumnus donates $1.28 million for physics and astronomy students
 Lillie Hegeman  / 

A gift of $1.28 million has been given to the MU Department of Physics and Astronomy to help students develop academically and professionally.

The Ronald J. Boain and Catherine J. Rangel Boain Endowment Fund will have $1.25 million to help undergraduate and graduate students in physics and astronomy with expenses related to professional development — speakers, career fairs and internship support.

An additional gift of $30,000 will contribute to the Boain Ph.D. Dissertation Award in Physics and the Boain Ph.D. Student Travel Fund.

The award will recognize the best dissertations, and the travel fund will support conference travel and research collaboration for doctoral students. Both funds were implemented last year.

Sashi Satpathy, MU Curators’ professor of physics and chair of the physics and astronomy department, said that doctoral students will now have the chance to attend conferences like the American Physical Society conference in Washington D.C. and conduct experiments in national laboratories like the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright announced the gift amount in a press conference Friday morning.

Ronald Boain, a 1965 MU graduate in physics and former NASA employee, said the donation was inspired by his appreciation for the institution that provided him with the foundations for his own career.

“It is my hope it will help other students, like me, see opportunities in industry, government and private and public research facilities during their years beyond graduation,” Boain said.

Following his father Walter Boain, who attended the university to play football under the legendary Don Faurot, Boain entered MU as a freshman in 1961. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1965 and continued on to earn his master’s degree in 1967.

Just two years after his graduation, Boain was working in Houston on contingency analysis for Apollo 11, the program that successfully sent the first men to the moon.

In 1975, Boain was offered a job with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

During his 40 years at the laboratory, Boain worked as a group supervisor, project manager, program manager, project system engineer, chief engineer and was assigned to NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Boain was awarded the Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2007 for his work on the CloudSat spacecraft, which was created to study the effects of clouds and aerosols on climate, weather and air quality.

Boain retired in 2011, and he and his wife returned to Columbia from their home in California in 2016. The Boains have now been consistent financial supporters of MU physics and astronomy for 50 years.

Boain said he hopes his support is used to encourage students to pursue careers in the increasingly broad and diversified field of physics.

The combination of biology and physics to form biophysics was unimaginable when Boain was studying at MU, and he said he is excited for the future opportunities in physics that students will have access to.

“I’m a believer that physics and a physics degree have applicability to more than just teaching and becoming a college professor,” Boain said. “People who come into the physics curriculum and study physics need to appreciate that there are more options for them.”

Boain’s desire for rising physics and astronomy students corresponds with those of the MU College of Arts and Science.

“We really emphasize helping students learn how to think, not what to think,” said Patricia Okker, dean of the MU College of Arts and Science.

“We are a college where we are focused on thinking and doing. We prepare students for careers, including careers that do not yet exist.”