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Shannon Foundation for Animals Suffers Flood Damage:
By Maggie Rotermund, St. Clair Missourian Editor 03/28/2008

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.Our round pen and pasture - Flood 2008
"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 their owner."

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 pot-bellied pigs.

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.

Financial Concerns

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.
Flood 2008
"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 them."

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

Stephens said 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 small buildings.

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 www.theshannonfoundation.org.
©Washington Missouri 2008
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Copyright © 2006- 2012 The Shannon Foundation/Rhonda Stephens │ 744 Cross Creek Valley Lane, St. Clair, MO 63077 │ PH: 636-629-4800
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