Our Town Hoopeston: H.A.R.T connects pets to furever families

Our Town 2020 - Hoopeston

Hoopeston, Ill. (WCIA).

For the volunteers that make up the Hoopeston Animal Rescue Team, taking care of the most vulnerable creatures in the community comes as natural as a bark and a wag.

“We get so bonded to these animals,” says H.A.R.T. volunteer Amy Buttram.

Since 2013, this no-kill, open intake shelter has rescued stray, injured, lost or unwanted animals and given them a new lease on life.

As a registered not-for-profit, president Sherry Klemme says her team relies on fundraising and donations to provide these animals with the food and medical care they deserve.

“Without the community we wouldn’t be here,” Kelemme says. “I mean our community is amazing. Everybody in our community has just been so helpful.”

But with a goal of giving a second chance to the thousands of dogs and cats that come through these doors, there is a concern that Klemme says H.A.R.T. must address:

“[The animals] need more space. This is an old vet clinic and last year we did a fundraiser to better the accommodations for the dogs. We’ve raised the money and now we’re getting ready to break ground.”

The newest addition to the building will include indoor/outdoor dog runs toward the back of the shelter plus an area for the public to see the animals.

In addition, new viewing rooms will give visitors a new space to play with pets up for adoption.

According to Klemmes, the pandemic has caused the project to be delayed, but she has hope it will be completed before the end of the year.

While the volunteers at H.A.R.T. are thrilled their furry friends will have room to roam, they also say these projects are a testament to what can happen in a community when people and animals have each other’s backs.

“There’s so many different things you can do in your community,” says Buttram. “And that’s really what I want people to do and see. There is so much to offer and [ask] what can you do as a person to give back to that.”

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