Humane Society leader pens farewell message

By JANIE ALLEN | Humane Society of Clark County

There are changes coming to Arkadelphia in the way of a new bypass through town. Unfortunately, with what might be seen as a welcome need for our little town will mean a lot of changes for individuals and their businesses along the route. In the case of Security Warehouse, it means the closing of our business. We, Janie and Jim Allen, have owned and operated Paw Prints And Security Warehouse for the last 25 years. We, like so many others, find ourselves in the path of progress. We have raised two children Tommy and Gabrielle Allen here in what I consider a fantastic caring community.  

Our family has been involved with the Humane Society of Clark County since our arrival in 1990. My husband, Jim Allen, and I have both held positions on the HSCC board. I have served as president for many years and my husband was Mr. Fix-It for the shelter. But, unfortunately, progress marches on and lives are changed. We will be relocating to another part of the state soon.

As we leave, we would like to thank all those who helped let our family grow and prosper in our little community. Thank you to all my Paw Print and Security Warehouse customers we will miss you in our next phase of our life. We will be leaving with a lot of memories. We enjoyed watching Tommy and Gabrielle growing up with their friends. Our family have many fond memories of hundreds of animals we helped save and served thru HSCC as well as your many fur babies I had the pleasure of grooming over the years. Our Security Warehouse Patrons who I shared life’s up and downs with you all were my everyday joy, and we will miss you greatly… Janie and Jim Allen

On May 1, 2023, I will be retiring from the board of Humane Society of Clark County after 27 years of service. The baton, so to speak, was passed to me from Dee Ross before her death. I, along with many concerned citizens of Clark County, have improved the lot of the stray and unwanted animals in our area as well as provided programs to benefit the citizens of Clark County through the years.

I was president for many years until February of 2023.  Sadly, due to our relocation it is no longer an option for me. But a wonderful person stepped up to fill the position, a good friend, Brandi Prince. I feel sure she will carry The Humane Society into the next phase of their development.

In the many years I served on the board of HSCC I have seen many changes within the organization and their participation in the community of Clark County. In the beginning, Don and Dee Ross would find homes for strays they took in. Soon, they made connections with others who had similar experiences in the community. So, along with a group of likeminded people, formed the Clark County Humane Society in 1989. The name was changed, when a board member pointed out that the organization was not receiving any financial help from Clark County, which is still true to this day. We do not receive any ongoing funds from state, federal or county. When the HSCC started out, they had foster homes only and with bake sales and small fundraisers were only able to provide shots, worming and one spay a month. We now are spaying and neutering all animals that come in as well as shots, worming, treatment of sickness or injury.

When I first joined the ranks of the HSCC, they only accepted dogs. That changed in the 90’s when Judy Garcia moved to Arkadelphia, to a state that would allow her to keep her pet coyote. She began housing cats at her home and would bring to my shop, Paw Prints, for adoption. Due to the untimely death of Judy, I took over housing cats at our business, Security Warehouse, any times, having as many as 40 cats in our house.

At the time I came on board in 1994. I felt strongly in doing complete medical on the animals coming into the shelter and strove to put this in place.

Nowadays we test for parvo, giardia, and heartworms. If they are positive for heartworms, we will treat them. The cats are tested for FELV-FIV spayed or neutered given shots wormed treated for illnesses and in the last 3 years we have been microchipping all animals that are adopted.

With my experience as a vet tech of about 11 years, having worked at vet hospitals in Shreveport, Monroe, La. and Hot Springs,  I established a medical program under the guidance of Dr. Marion Smith, a friend and vet I worked with at All Creatures Animal Hospital in Hot Springs. After her passing we were blessed when Dr.Waymack, a local retired vet, stepped up and came on board to direct our group in the medical aspects of the shelter. He comes one time a week and more if needed. Dr Waymack works diligently to save us money with needed drugs as well as donating his services.

One program I am most proud of that the Society has provided for the community is the  discounted spay/neuter clinic in the form of a mobile clinic. They come every couple of months to the shelter. This is a very important program we provide for the community. It allows not only for the citizens to get their animals spayed/neutered for about half price, it prevents the amount of unwanted litters coming into the shelter. So, please take advantage of this very important service provided for your community and don’t forget to support this worthy cause.

We once housed our dogs on the old tennis courts at The Humane Development Center in Caddo Valley, a project of Margo Green and Dee Ross. After about 4 years and through fundraisers and a grant from the Cabe Foundation, we bought our current building in 2005. We were very excited and relieved to have our own building at last.

After remodeling part of the building, we were hit with a flood in 2019 causing about $100,000.00 in structural damage and the death of one puppy. We have been playing catch up ever since.

Unfortunately, with the number of strays in Clark County we have outgrown our current location. Our current shelter site is not idea for a shelter, due to flooding and the constant noise from the passing trains and the fact we only have 3/4 an acre to work with. I would like to plead and challenge the citizens of Clark County to come together and find land and build that shelter. We need at least 5 acres on city water and sewer or close enough to town to connect. It can happen if you believe.

We are currently trying to improve the dog yard and pens, at our current location. This means we must reduce the current number of animals we have in order to pour concrete and redo the pens. We need foster homes and physical help to accomplish this huge task. What we need is a community-wide coming together of tradesmen to help us make the shelter work for housing animals. If you can help with this project, please contact any of the current board members. We hope this will help improve the plight of the homeless animals in our care. Until, at some time in the future we can build a proper shelter designed for the care of animals.

When I got involved in HSCC it was with the goal of building a shelter that would be self-sustaining to a point. Some of my ideas were an attached thrift store, recycling center, coffee and tea shop, greenhouse, member dog park and of course grants and maybe a place where vet students could practice out of school. I know big ideas! Alas, not in my lifetime, but I can’t be the only dreamer out there. Our only source of funding are donations, adoption fees, fundraisers and grants. Our current expenditures are at a about $12,000.00 a month. As I said we do not get funding from local, state or federal entities. It will take the citizens of Arkadelphia’s support to Keep the unwanted and abused animals of Clark County safe and loved.

The one thing I have learned over the years working for a 501(c)3, you are only as good as the board members, the employees and volunteers you have participating in the organization. I feel an honor to have served with all who have taken time out of their lives and listened to their heart to serve with the Humane Society of Clark County. As for the future, I truly believe we currently have an incredible board and shelter manager in Whitney Womble that has the power to bring the Humane Society of Clark County forward into the future.

Thank You to Brandi Prince-President, Cathy Garrett-vice President, Pam Shuffield-Treasure, Ali Painter-Secretary, Liz Martin-Head of fundraising, Lisa Speer-Grant writer Kathy Finnagan-fundraising and our newest board member Christine Dickson counselor and dog whisperer and shelter manager Whitney Womble. Also a huge thank you to all those who I have worked with in the past. After I’m off the board they will be looking for my replacement. I’m hoping a retired contractor steps up.

So, if you think you might enjoy the challenge, please send your resume to humanesocietyclarkcounty@yahoo.com.

Remember it’s not a job. IT IS A CALLING

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