Second chances: taking another look at humane societies

Photo courtesy of Second Chance Rescue

Story by Breanna Sill, Staff writer

Photo courtesy of  Second Chance Rescue

Photo courtesy of Second Chance Rescue

When two Murray residents started seeing flaws with the Humans Society of Murray/Calloway County, they took it upon themselves to start their own animal rescue program.

That was when Shelia Holsapple and Carla Stokes founded Second Chance Dog Rescue.

“The Calloway County shelter is way too small,” Holsapple said. “It’s very, very old and it only has twelve cages. So it’s really just too small for the population that Murray has.”

What started as an attempt to work with the shelter to expand its facilities became two women setting out to open their own rescue program.

Since its start nearly a year ago, Holsapple and Stokes have placed more than 20 dogs and cats to families in the Murray area. Because Second Chance Dog Rescue doesn’t have a facility, the animals reside in foster care with Murray families before being adopted.

“We don’t operate under any kind of facility right now,” Holsapple said. “We operate under the three F’s: funds, food and fosters. We ask for foster families all the time and they help us to take care of anything that we get.”

A foster family’s job is solely to provide the animal with love, shelter and medicine, if needed, until the pet can be placed into a forever home.

“When we put an animal in foster, we are in charge of everything from purchasing their food and vet care,” Holsapple said. “We provide the food, we provide everything; all we ask is that they provide them with love and administer their medicines if they need them.”

Ultimately, the animal rescue’s main objective is to  pull animals out of other shelters in hopes of placing them in homes.

There are three dogs up for adoption on Second Chance Dog Rescue’s website,, a 10-year-old Shih Tzu named Hope, an eight month old mix-breed puppy named Buddy and a one and a half year old English Coonhound named Topper.

That does not include the number of pets that are currently being fostered.

Right now, Holsapple and Stokes are working toward the animal rescue’s future by looking for people to help them write grants. The women are looking to obtain funding from the state to hopefully kick-start the construction of a facility of their own so they are not entirely dependent on foster families for the pets.

“If there is anyone at Murray State, or anyone majoring in something like that at Murray State, who would be looking to get practice writing grants or get credit for it, we would very much appreciate and welcome that help,” Stokes said.

Another thing the rescue would use the money to fund is awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering animals. Holsapple and Stokes said the overpopulation of animals is what is filling these shelters with more animals than there are families to adopt them.

“The more animals that we can spay and neuter, the less that will be euthanized,” Stokes said. “There is just an overpopulation of animals and that is the only way to control it.”

Second Chance Dog Rescue makes sure the animals are either spayed or neutered before they are given to their forever families. To adopt a pet from Second Chance Dog Rescue or to become a foster to a pet, the founders ask that you visit them on their website and fill out an application.