Nearly 300 animals rescued from Helena-West Helena Shelter

Local News

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark.- An animal shelter in Helena-West Helena has seen it all, dog fights, break-ins and over-crowding. But tonight, they are seeing hope.

The Bissell Pet Foundation has partnered with them to rescue hundreds of animals from heartbreaking conditions.

“There was a lot of tears shed,” said Reta Merritt, Director of Delta Humane Society.

This rescue is giving animals from the Humane Society of the Delta a second chance at life.

“They came, they seen and they helped,” said Merritt.

Director of the shelter, Reta Merritt, said recently Cathy Bissell the founder of the Bissell Pet Foundation, visited the campus.

Merritt said after Bissell saw the conditions, she planned a rescue mission.

Following the rescue, the Bissell Pet Foundation posted to their website saying, “Conditions were heartbreaking – an overcrowded shelter with few staff members and nobody coming to this rural area to adopt. Unfortunately, it’s a common issue for southern animal shelters.”

“We had up to 400 dogs at one time and they have helped us move down to 38,” said Merritt.

Merritt said a lot of the dogs have been victims of unspeakable things.

Others, have been at the shelter for nearly a decade.

“The dogs that have been here, have been loved by us tremendously and they’re lying on somebody’s couch now. It’s just amazing to see that they are in a home,” said Merritt.
Merritt not only works at the shelter, she lives there. So, with 300 less animals she can shift her focus.

“I have more time to spend with the ones that really need a lot of help right now. Things have really changed,” said Merritt.

Merritt said the shelter fills up quickly, receiving about 100 dogs a month.

Luckily, she said the Bissell Pet Foundation will be back to rescue more.

According to the Bissell Pet Foundation, 16 shelters teamed up to save the animals. The website reads, “This lifesaving operation would not be possible without the following shelter and rescue partners involved from Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kentucky: Animal Rescue Corps, Belleville Area Humane Society, Cascades Humane Society, Detroit Dog Rescue, Forever Tails Animal Rescue, Greater Hillsdale Humane Society, Harbor Humane Society, Hearts of Hope Dog Rescue, Humane Society of Tulsa, Humane Society of West Michigan, Kentucky Humane Society, Lexington Humane Society, Little Traverse Bay Humane Society, Muskegon County Humane Society, Nashville Humane Association, and SPCA of Southwest Michigan.”

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