Duchess the German Shepherd and her two puppies [ Wendy Weitzel | The Star ]
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Shelter seeks donations to help with housing, veterinary costs

Duchess the German Shepherd and her two puppies had been living in a hole dug outside before they were brought into the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society a few weeks ago.

All three have hookworms, but after receiving care at the shelter, they are well on their way to recovery.

The story is one of many Diana Burkett has learned after working with the animal shelter for a decade. And with every story comes an unexpected set of costs, she explained.

“We have to do what we can to help them, and all of that costs money,” she said.

“We have a lot of stories like that. We recently found a litter of kittens in a ditch. We had eight puppies brought in in a cardboard box. Heidi over there has a torn ACL, and her medical treatments are expensive,” she said gesturing to a friendly brown and white pit bull.

The majority of the shelter’s annual budget, Burkett said, goes not to food or cleaning, as many of the shelter’s patrons expect, but instead towards veterinary costs.

Deworming treatments alone can range from $50 to $150 per dog, depending on its size and the severity of the infection. A heartworm treatment can run $450.

“The medical costs are rough on us,” said Burkett. “I mean just to get animal intakes done, get their shots, get them to the vet when they need something is costly, and there’s no way we can adopt them out without them being healthy.”

“We don’t just put them in a kennel and give them food and water and leave them. They are maintained. They are cared for.”

While the shelter receives funding from the city and county and sporadic grants every year, it does not cover the entirety of the shelter’s approximately $25,000 monthly budget. 

The remainder, Burkett said, is funded through donations, most of them sizable. 

“But we’re trying to make it more accessible,” she said, “with a monthly donation program.”

“If everybody will just give a little bit, then it takes the burden off of the board and the staff, and it is so much simpler than trying to get somebody to give a large amount.” 

The Humane Society is asking for monthly donations from the community ranging from $10 to $30, which they say will help them care for an average of 50 dogs and 20 cats who call the shelter home at any given time.

Those interested in donating can do so by visiting https://givebutter.com/PAWSOMEPALS.

The Humane Society is also running an adoption special for the next few months. The adoption fee for dogs has been reduced to $30, and the adoption fee for cats has been reduced to $10.

The shelter is also seeking volunteer dog walkers and foster placements for animals at the shelter. For more information, call (850) 227-1103 or stop by the shelter at 1007 10th Street in Port St. Joe.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor


  1. I have been volunteering there over a year. I was amazed how all the staff works so hard, in heat and cold. Cleaning every kennel and cage daily, feeding twice daily, walking twice daily if possible; washing hundreds of bowls,sanitizing, drying them; washing loads of towels, bedding, etc. constantly!! The work never ends. The shelter needs more room, new laundry machines and much more. I watch this staff work tirelessly and ALWAYS show love and compassion to these animals. And when they lose one, they are heartbroken. If our local authorities would spend time with the shelter,I think they might get more funding. We don’t need another outdoor exercise pavilion at the park! Thanks!

  2. I truly believe that the faith Thrift Hut could bring in a lot of money each month if it was located in the town area. I come from Panama City to donate items but I feel like there are so many people from Cape San Blas and other resort areas that don’t even know that the thrift Hut is located and so many customers are missed. I hope. the board would please consider relocating a wonderful home accent and resale shop on Reid Street to support this wonderful Humane Society.

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