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Animal lovers have another place in Vermilion County where they can adopt pets.

The Hoopeston Animal Control and Shelter is now open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and has some upcoming events planned. A low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cats will be this Saturday, and grooming is now offered on Saturdays and Sundays.

Sherry Klemme, animal control officer and shelter operator, said things have been going well since the shelter opened last November.

“The volunteers were there from the beginning,” she said. “It’s been a challenge, but it’s been smoother than we anticipated.”

Having the support of the city and the volunteers, and having a building — which formerly housed a veterinarian’s office — has helped a lot, she said.

Hoopeston City Manager Loni Gress is pleased with the shelter. Referring to Klemme, she said, “I think she’s doing a wonderful job. She’s providing a service that’s needed. She goes above and beyond.”

The city pays for the lease and utilities, she said, while the shelter team raises money to feed, medicate and maintain the animals during their stay. In fact, donations of food, cat litter and money are crucial to the shelter’s success.

“We’re trying to do everything on a shoestring budget,” Klemme said.

Pet Supplies Plus in Danville has been good about donating food, she said, adding, “Without them, we couldn’t feed the animals we have. We’re just thrilled to death.”

The shelter has a wish list on http://www.amazon.com. People may bring items to the shelter 901 W. Main or drop them off at 861 E. Chestnut St. There’s not always someone at the shelter, so that second address ensures that packages are not out in the weather.

The shelter also needs money for services from Paxton Veterinary Clinic.

“Thankfully, the Paxton vet understands the shelter’s needs and works closely with us,” Klemme said, “but helping us to keep our veterinarian paid in full will only ensure the quality of care for all of our animals.”

The medical fund is crucial because the shelter doesn’t turn away animals due to medical needs.

“I don’t care if it’s a stray with three legs,” she said. “We will drive it to our vet and tell them to do everything they can to save it. Our first response is to save.”

She added, “Every animal that walks through these doors counts. We try to give it a second chance. The injured ones need the most help.”

How it started

Klemme got the idea for the shelter in November when the veterinarian in town decided to close the practice.

The city, which leased space in the clinic for its stray dogs and cats, had no place to take the strays.

Klemme, the animal control officer, was worried. Since 2011, she had reduced the number of animals being euthanized to almost zero by placing them in homes and with various animal rescue organizations, mostly in the Chicago area. With the clinic closing, the future was uncertain for stray animals.

Klemme received approval from the building owners Lou and Bev Alwardt, Mayor Bill Crusinberry, Police Chief Mark Drollinger, City Manager Loni Gress, the City Council, and the community — and the Hoopeston Animal Shelter was born.

The shelter can hold six large dogs, five to 10 medium dogs and 30 cats. The building also has three cat play rooms where the cats can roam free. There’s a quarantine room, but all sick animals immediately go to the vet for care.

“We do have more space and can use large free standing kennels and/or crates, if needed,” she said, “but we would need more volunteers for that.”

Until recently the shelter was restricted for Hoopeston residents. However, the shelter will take out-of-area animals on a case-to-case basis. The intake fee is $50 per animal. Priority still will be given to local residents.

The shelter couldn’t run without volunteers, she said, including: April Colleen, Michael Colleen, Lynn Morgan, Desirae Hefner, Deb Hefner, Katie Prather, Kathleen Orcutt and Patti Fitzpatrick.

The shelter is getting busier, which means more volunteer help is needed.

“We are looking for a responsible person or persons to help us with cleaning, laundry and socializing our animals for all mornings of the week,” she said. Hours would be 8-11 a.m. or any time within that period. A volunteer — who doesn’t get paid — must be responsible and consistent, she said.

Klemme also thanked the local community for its support, and especially the rescue partners for taking in dogs and cats.

Second chances

As an example of how the shelter won’t turn any animal in need away, the shelter still has Bobo, a pit bull mix who has been there since October. He has some personality issues, which are being addressed.

“We’ve spent a fortune on this dog, to give him a second chance,” she said. “He’s had a rough start. He needs reinforcement with his confidence.”

Another dog is Wilbur, a shepherd/Lab mix who’s ready for adoption. He was picked up as a stray near Danville. When the person couldn’t find his owner, the dog was taken to a boarding facility in Indiana. That was two years ago.

The 8-year-old dog is heartworm negative and vaccinated, weighs 67 pounds, is good with other animals, and all people.

“Wilbur is sweet and easy going,” she said. “He is always wagging his tail and walks pretty decent on a leash.”

His adoption fee is $125 and he will be completely vetted, neutered and microchipped before going into a new home.

The shelter also has hamsters up for adoption.

Other services:

The shelter will have a low-cost spay/neuter clinic for cats on Saturday. Pre-pay cost is $30 per cat; vaccines are available at an additional cost. A team from the University of Illinois will do the surgeries.

Only 30 spots are available, and people are asked to pre-pay. Dropoff time is 8-9 a.m., and pick up time is 4-5 p.m.

Grooming will be offered the third weekend of every month (on Saturday and Sunday for the time being). Jenessa Janssen operates the Muddy Pawz Groom Room; call her at 781-0232 for an appointment.


For more information or to sign up cats for Saturday's spay/neuter clinic, call Sherry Klemme at (765) 414-6586. Donations in the form of checks may be made out to the Hoopeston Animal Shelter and mailed to the City of Hoopeston, 301 W. Main St., Hoopeston, IL 60942 Paypal donations may be made by visiting the Facebook page: Hoopeston-IL-Animal-Controls-Rescue-Efforts-Animal-Awareness. The shelter also has a wish list at http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/refwish_list. Type Hoopeston Animal Shelter into the search box.

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