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Notable milestone: Anderson Animal Shelter in St. Charles Township marks 50th anniversary

ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP – Since its beginnings in the 1960s as the North Central Illinois Humane Society, Anderson Animal Shelter has not helped just thousands of animals.

At nearly 80,000 total adoptions since opening – an amount the South Elgin shelter boasted in its most recent newsletter – it has saved tens of thousands of animals’ lives.

Anderson Animal Shelter is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Its impact on the community likely will be on display next month, when it presents its Pets-a-Palooza at Mooseheart Child City and School near Batavia.

In addition to incorporating the shelter’s golden anniversary into aspects of the festivities, Executive Director Beth Drake said the event will feature a reunion tent. People may bring their pets there to meet others who adopted from the same litter, she said, and foster families may also meet up with the dogs and cats they once cared for.

Last year’s inaugural Pets-a-Palooza fundraiser in St. Charles Township drew about 2,500 attendees, Drake said.

“We’re hoping for way more than that,” she said.

Marking 50 years as a shelter is notable, Drake said, adding that the “vast majority” of humane organizations in the Chicago area are younger.

“Fifty years ago animal welfare didn’t have the same face as it does now,” Drake said, explaining communities had no understanding of spaying and neutering.

She credited Anderson Animal Shelter’s longevity to the “extremely passionate” people involved in running the facility, as well as having a physical location, 1000 S. LaFox, South Elgin.

Anderson Animal Shelter initially was an open-admission shelter, meaning it took every animal that came to it and thus had a high euthanasia rate, Drake said.

In the early 2000s, it became a no-kill shelter, meaning adoptable animals are not euthanized, she said.

The shelter averages 40 adoptions a week and is on track this year to exceed 3,000 adoptions, Drake said. She said yearly adoption totals in previous years were 673 in 2013 – the last full year before the facility was remodeled – 1,050 in 2014 – the year of the remodel – and 2,067 in 2015.

“We’re definitely growing,” she said.

Puppies generally are the quickest to get adopted. On average, Drake said, it takes three days for puppies to find a home, while adult dogs taken five to seven days; kittens take 10 days and adult cats – the most difficult group of animals to get adopted – take 30 days.

The shelter aims for short stays, Drake said, adding shelter personnel view the animals as guests.

“No matter how nice our facility is, we know it’s not a home,” she said. “They belong in homes. They belong with families who love them.”

If you go

What: Pets-a-Palooza

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 18

Where: Mooseheart Child City and School along Route 31 between North Aurora and Batavia

Cost and info: This free Anderson Animal Shelter event is a family-friendly event in celebration of pets. Planned activities include a pet parade, pet-related demonstrations, entertainment and pet-themed contests.

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