The Dent County Animal Welfare Society was organized to help homeless dogs and cats in a locale where nothing was being done for them. State charter and incorporation were established early in 1990.

Because the city pound was deplorable and facing state fines and no facility was provided by the county, plans were formed to build a shelter so there would be a safe haven for the animals under our protection.

A grant was obtained, matching funds raised and ground broken in October of 1992. The shelter opened 1/27/1993. 501c3 status was then applied for and received.

We are an independent humane society and do not receive tax funding from the city or county or any of the large national humane societies.


To provide safe housing and care for homeless cats and dogs until they can be placed in good homes and to limit euthanasia to those truly vicious or too old or ill to have comfortable lives.


Most of us got into this “accidentally,” and once we saw how great the need, there was no walking away.

We have adopted out perfectly fine pets that have been homeless 3-4 years. We’ve adopted out pets with allergies, heart problems, one eye, three legs, deaf, blind, etc. Once we had a tiny, elderly, toothless Chihauhua .. And a woman looked at him and said, “I can’t leave him here.” People like this exist and, because they do, we can give the needy ones a chance to live and be happy while they are waiting for that special person.


Despite our goal to be a no-kill shelter, we had a 20.4% euthanasia rate. We decided this was not acceptable and looked for ways to improve placement. In 2004 the euthanasia rate dropped to 6.9%.

In 2011 we took in 403 cats and 503 dogs.

Placement rate was 90%, euthanasia rate .1%. No pet is branded “unadoptable” for lack of space. How did a small shelter in a rural area of low economy and low awareness do this?

Placement is boosted greatly by websites, cross-posting, and FaceBook. We travel to the PetSmart in Brentwood several times a month. Through the internet, we have adopted pets from many other states and even in Canada.

We have pictures and information on bulletin boards, local publications, radio spots, etc.

We have wonderful volunteers who provide foster care, special nursing, networking and help at adoption events, going the extra mile to help the most helpless of God’s creatures. Many who can’t do hands on work provide moral and financial support.


The ongoing needs include, of course, more homes and financial support. Donations of food, litter, cleaning supplies, etc. are always appreciated.

The current shelter has seen heavy use and was never really adequate for the level of care we want to provide.

We own 12.5 debt free acres and need support of any type for this building project.

Ideas on fund raisers, grants, foundations or corporations that might donate would be appreciated as would families, clubs, etc. having bake sales, car washes, rummage sales, Triva night events, etc. Most of all, we ask for your friendship and support

Save aluminum cans and Best Choice bar codes.

See “Programs” about the programs in which Schnucks and other businesses donate a percentage of your purchases to the charity you choose.

PO Box 565
5358 South Highway 19
Salem MO 65560