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Foundation for Animals Suffers Flood Damage:
Rotermund, St. Clair Missourian Editor
Washington Post, March 2008
A local animal refuge weathered the
floodwaters with its menagerie safe and sound, but now it needs help
getting its sanctuary back to normal.
The Shannon Foundation,
located on a farm just outside of St. Clair, is in need of repairs.
"All the animals are safe," founder Rhonda Stephens said. "I moved
all of them to high ground before we flash flooded and then flooded with
backup water from the Meramec."
The Shannon Foundation serves a
specific need, taking animals that have trouble finding somewhere else
to go due to illness or past abuse. Many of the animals on the farm have
been rescued from deplorable conditions only to land at a center
ill-equipped to handle an animal that needs constant attention.
"I take the unadoptable," Stephens told The Missourian. "The animals
that are here have mental or health problems or cannot be mainstreamed.
I also take animals that are abandoned due to the death or illness of
Stephens estimates there are 100 animals residing
on her 100-acre property. In addition to dogs and cats, Stephens has
llamas, a donkey, rabbits, fennec foxes, emus, deer, parrots, doves,
chickens and several exotic birds.
She also has goats, horses and
While the animals survived the floodwaters, the
farm sustained serious damage.
"We lost or had damage to the
fence," Stephens said. "We also lost small animal shelters."
Stephens said more than anything she is in need of volunteers to clean
up around the farm.
"Trash glass, garbage, etc. needs to be
picked up out of the pastures before I can return the livestock," she
said. "We also have larger trees that need to be cut up and removed.
Due to financial constraints, the
Foundation is limiting the number of animals it takes. It cannot take on
any more animals without additional support.
Stephens opened the
foundation four years ago, and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization
about two years ago.
"It's the only way we could continue to work," she said. "Some of these
animals are on such specific diets - some of the dogs that were starved
have severe intestinal problems. They are on a special food. It can cost
up to $100 a month to feed one dog."
Stephens spent years working
for a veterinarian in Fenton, before coming to work for Charles Hughes.
Hughes owned the property on which the Shannon Foundation farm
now sits. The rescue operation began by word of mouth - friends would
bring Stephens animals that couldn't go anywhere else. After a while,
word of mouth had created quite a menagerie.
Many of her animals
have serious health problems, either from abuse or medical conditions.
For those animals, keeping to a daily routine is critical. "They are
conditioned to be on a schedule," Stephens said. "I really work around
All of the animals taken in by the Shannon Foundation come
to stay. While Stephens works to rehabilitate them, she is not looking
to place them elsewhere.
How to Help
those who wish to get involved can volunteer at the Foundation, either
helping with cleanup or animal care.
"Anything helps," she said.
Monetary donations also are greatly appreciated. Stephens said
she is looking at increased expenses to replace and repair the fence and
The Shannon Foundation can be reached at
636-629-4800 or write to the Shannon Foundation at 744 Cross Creek
Valley Lane, St. Clair, MO 63077-3462.
For more information or
to view pictures of some of the rescued animals, visit
©Washington Missouri 2008