Oxygen Pet Masks

pet masks6

The title alone should spark up some curiosity, right? Well what exactly are Oxygen Pet Masks? They are a vital addition to any Fire Department or EMS service that handles any fire situation that involves pets. When a Fire Department goes on scene to a fire and there are pets involved in the fire, most Fire Departments do not have the capabilities of handling the pets with oxygen. They have to try to utilize a human oxygen masks and they does not work correctly and can be cumbersome let alone not work as too much oxygen escapes from the sides due to the bone structure of a dogs face compared to that of a human.

Oxygen pet masks were created just for this reason and they are so helpful to EMS and Firs Rescue to be able to have proper equipment when handling a dog or cat on scene. Lets look at what exactly these masks do and how helpful they are in this video of the Fairfax County, VA Fire Department. Here you can see them being used.


This brought up a question to our own Effingham County Fire Department and EMS services. HOPE wanted to know if they had any on their trucks. The response was no, but Wanda McDuffie with the EMS Services said they wanted some. HOPE has just donated one set to the Effignham County EMS Services. They were very appreciative. Upon giving them the set we asked how many more they would need to outfit all their trucks. This way all of Effingham would be covered when the trucks that carry oxygen were at a fire rescue that involved pets.

Wandy McDuffie got back with HOPE and let us know they would need 10 more sets to be able to have enough for each of the trucks and Rincon Fire would like to have 4 to start with as well. That has set HOPE on a mission to be able to supply all 14 sets. Each set costs $90 therefore this will cost $1,260 to outfit some trucks with their own Pet Masks Set. Each set includes 3 sizes, tubes, instructions and a carry bag for it to go in. We rely on donations to be able to do all the things we do for the Effingham County pets, so this is no different. We need your help to make this happen.

HOPE would like to match all donations made thru Dec 1st so we can order the masks and have them to the Effingham County EMS and Fire Departments before Christmas. Why Christmas, what a better way to give back to the community and at Christmas time but also Christmas is a high fire season with space heaters, Christmas trees and such. We would like to make sure the Fire Departments and EMS is equipped with the oxygen pet masks prior to that.

You can help simply by clicking the DONATE HERE or you can send in your donation to HOPE at P.O. Box 2601 Rincon, GA 31326 and please put in the memo “Pet Masks” so we know what the donation is for. Any amount helps! Remember HOPE will match all donations up to Dec 1st, and all donations are tax deductible since we are a 501(c)3.

Please help us make this happen? We don’t want pets to suffer from a fire if they could be saved by one of these pet mask sets.

TNR Trap-Neuter-Release – What does that mean?



When the Effingham County Animal Shelter decided to partner up with Georgiana Steese and HOPE to create the Barn Cat program it changed things at the shelter in a great way. It helped so many unwanted feral cats get homes and put them to work by helping the land owners with rodent issues. The shelter had a grant that helped fund this for about 6 months. This proved to be a great thing helping over 150 cats get new homes and not have to be euthanized as what had been done in the past with ferals.

That said the money ran out and HOPE and Georgiana Steese were left with fundraising to meet the needs of the shelter to take the cats , get them fixed, get shots to prepare them for their new job. This meant about $1200 in donations a month to make it happen. With all efforts it is making it but the shelter needs more support from the community as well as the county. The community has asked for better ways, they have asked to help the cats, they have asked to stop euthanizing. Well now is your chance to help make that happen.

Even though we call it the Barn Cat Program it truly is a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) program. So what exactly does TNR mean to the average person:

  • It stabilizes feral cat colonies
  • Improves cats’ lives
  • Answers the needs of the community
  • Protects cats’ lives
  • And it works – as other methods just do not.

It stabilizes feral cat colonies as the colonies diminish over time. A 11-year study conducted by the University of Florida showed a decline in the number of cats by 66%, but no new kittens were born after the first four years. Another study done by the university of Texas A&M as they neutered 123 cats in the first year and no new kittens were found the following year. Also from that study they found 20% of the cats trapped were actually socialized and got adopted out to families.

It improves their lives by creating safer communities and promote public health by reducing the number of unvaccinated cats. TNR programs improve the lives of free-roaming cats. When males are neutered, they are no longer compelled to maintain a large territory or fight over mates, and females are no longer forced to endure the physical and mental demands of giving birth and fending for their young. And by sterilizing community cats it reduces or even eliminates the behaviors that can lead to nuisance complaints.(1)

TNR helps the community by stabilizing the population, basically no new kittens. Also due to not expressing mating behaviors they become better neighbors. They are quieter and more tolerable. It also helps the community see the shelter in a different light of one to be helping with a solution and not to just eradicate it. It provides opportunity for others that would have never asked the shelter for help due to being afraid of the cat being euthanized, will now ask for help as they know the shelter is helping the situation. It puts the shelter in a better light with the community.

It does tremendously helps save lives as in the past and with lots of shelters there is no program in place. This means ferals are destroyed. Did you know the number one cause of death for cats in American is being killed at a shelter. As a nation, over 70% of cats are euthanized and almost 100% of ferals are euthanized. There are just way too many cats that come in during a week and not enough homes. There is no space for them, and ferals are unadoptable due to lack of human contact. Therefore, TNR helps the cats. It allows them to live out their lives where they feel safe.

TNR works where other methods have failed. In the past they just caught and killed, this lead to taxpayers paying for trapping, holding, feeding, and euthanizing. This adds up when you get so many and no end in sight. Because of this biological certainty, trapping and removing cats from a given area does little more than ensure that the cat population will rebound to its original level, necessitating additional trapping and killing. (1) Adoption does not work well as most shelters do not have the time nor space to socialize the cats to live in a home as a typical house cat.

There are plenty of places that have tried TNR and are doing very well with it. There are major cities like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Austin, Jacksonville, Topeka, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Cook County, IL. Colleges and Universities have joined in including Stanford, Texas A&M, North Carolina State, and the University of Florida to name a few. Businesses are even joining in the efforts like Disneyland and the Portland’s professional soccer stadium. There are more than 260 registered nonprofit cat organizations nationwide. (2) So why not our county to? Because we have no provisions in place for it. We need to!

TNR does reduce shelter admissions and operating costs. Also, fewer community cats in shelters increases shelter adoption rates, as more cage space opens up for adoptable cats. Another beneficial component of TNR is the positive impact these programs have on animal control officers and shelter workers. Job satisfaction among these workers increases tremendously when the work does not involve the unnecessary killing of healthy animals for the purpose of convenience. This increased job satisfaction results in less employee turnover and an overall improved public image of the shelter. The reduction in killing and animal admissions also provides more time for staff and volunteers to care for the animals in the shelter and give personal attention to potential adopters.(1)

The cost savings associated with TNR are location-specific and accurate estimates involve taking into account numerous variables. The immediate savings that many communities experience are a result of tapping into volunteer support and other resources (e.g., private donations) that come from implementing a humane method of managing community cats. Cost savings fluctuate based on the type of TNR program implemented, the extent of animal control involvement, the volunteer base available, and the community’s overall support of TNR. The point, however, is that over time, through attrition and sterilization efforts, fewer cats will be breeding and contributing to the population growth. And fewer animals to contend with inevitably means a decrease in the demand on taxpayer dollars.(1)

Some ask, what are the advantages of adopting a TNR ordinance? An ordinance grants credibility to any TNR program. So basically when crafted properly, a TNR ordinance establishes reasonable standards and defines duties for individuals in implementing a community cat program. This type of legislation grants credibility to TNR, promotes community involvement, and encourages community cat caregiver cooperation. (1)

Equally important, a well-crafted ordinance will insulate community cats from feeding bans, pet limits or other punitive laws that often impede the progress of sterilization efforts and public health protection. In addition, adopting a TNR ordinance can make grant funding more available, since this legal assurance speaks volumes about the level of community support and involvement. (1)

If you would like to speak to your local County Commissioner about this and to ask them to be on board like you are for a TNR program please do. Please contact before Dec 3rd, as there will be a meeting on Dec 4th to go over this possible program. But we need your help to show the Commissioners that this a real issue and we need this program to ensure more lives are saved and the problem is managed. All the County Commissioners are listed below with contact information for your convenience.

Wesley Corbitt, Chairman At Large      wcorbitt@effinghamcounty.org

Forrest Floyd, District 1    ffloyd@effinghamcounty.org

Roger Burdette, District 2      rburdette@effinghamcounty.org

Jamie Deloach, District 3    jamiedeloachdistrict3@gmail.com

Reggie Loper, District 4    comm.rsloper.dist4@gmail.com

Phil Keiffer, District 5     philkiefferdistrict5@gmail.com

Please take a moment to contact all of these Commissioners as every little bit helps with our efforts. If they hear from the community it does so much more than just a few voices from us! They need to know how you feel.




Barn Cat Donations Equal saving Lives

Ok you know the story about Barn Cats:

Each week the Shelter takes in many feral cats also know as community cats. These cats can be very beneficial to farms and warehouses. They will keep the rodent and snake populations under control. No need for pesticides or poison which is more harmful to our environment. 

All cats will be spayed or neutered, have a Rabies vaccine and an ear tip which shows they have been fixed. They will be offered for adoption through the Shelter. The adoption fee will be waived for approved applicants.

This was all made possible from a Grant that the shelter was able to get. But with all good things they do come to an end, the Grant money has ran out. This is where HOPE comes in to help fundraise to keep the Barn Cat Program going.

These cats are now on a farm, working for their keep by keeping the rodent population down, and living out their natural life. They are now cared for, fed, vetted, and living the good life. This is how it should be, not in a cage awaiting …….. well you know. With so many feral cats that come into the shelter in a year that were having to be put down as nowhere for them to go, this provided a great solution for them and for the county.

Did you know since March of this year the shelter has adopted out 151 feral cats that would have otherwise been put down do to no one wanting them. That was 151 lives the shelter saved by fixing them, providing rabies shots and an ear tip. All meanwhile receiving no adoption fee. All out of pocket expenses and nothing in return.

This is about 25+ cats a MONTH! It costs $50 per cat to do everything at the vet’s office. Therefore we are in great need of donations to make all this happen. Yes, This means we have to fundraise for $1,250 each month to stay on track to keep saving lives. And no this is NOT part of the county budget, nor will it ever be. They do not provide like that for shelter animals and honestly most shelters fall into this category. So before hating on the county look around at others they are the same or treat their animals with NO respect.

There are so many who criticize the shelter for killing animals and this program works and it saves lives that would have been put down. So help us help them by donating today. You can go to the Yellow “Donate” button in the upper right side of the page and it will take you to our PayPal donation page. Any amount helps and it is all a tax deduction.

Please help us save a life! The shelter staff does not want to look at them and tell them they are not wanted either. They love it when they leave adopted! Every little bit helps people! Every Bit!

Barn Cat Program


Barn Cat Program is a new Project at the Effingham County Animal Shelter in Springfield, GA

Each week the Shelter takes in many feral cats also know as community cats. These cats can be very beneficial to farms and warehouses. They will keep the rodent and snake populations under control. No need for pesticides or poison which is more harmful to our environment. 

All cats will be spayed or neutered, have a Rabies vaccine and an ear tip which shows they have been fixed. They will be offered for adoption through the Shelter. The adoption fee is reduced for approved applicants. 

A volunteer with HOPE has been working on raising funds to vet these community cats and also to help with relocating them to new lives. It will run approximately $50 per cat to have them vetted. If you would like to sponsor a community cat you can either hit the donation button on the right side of our page labeled Donate or you can write a check and send to:
P.O.Box 2601
Rincon, Ga. 31326

Or send to our volunteer Georgiana Steese
408 Benjamin Gnann Rd.
Springfield, Ga. 31329

Please specify with your donation in the Memo area “Community or Barn Cats. Any size donation will be welcomed towards the Barn Cats Program.


If you are interested in giving a cat employment at your farm, warehouse or place of business please contact Georgiana Steese at the above address (click her name) and get on the list. Let’s get these critters out of the shelter and into the workplace. We will only be able to vet as many cats as the funds collected will allow so please consider a donation towards this worthy project.

We at HOPE are so appreciative to Georgiana for her hard work and because of her we can start on a new program and help the animals in our shelter on to new and happy lives.

UPDATE: Effingham County’s Barn Cat Program update 5/18/18: Our busiest week yet! Fifteen cats were vetted this week for a total of 71 in the past 8 weeks. We are definitely seeing the effects of “kitten season”…..yesterday, I had taken 6 phone calls by 11:30 a.m., and I’m sure the communications will only increase. The effort is well worth it…each cat vetted and put to work helps decrease the rodent population in our area, without poisons and chemicals. Since the felines can no longer reproduce, the potential feral population is significantly lowered, and we appreciate the efforts our county citizens are making to help with this! We have met some wonderful supporters, and their willingness to work as a team to provide positive outcomes, helps make this program be the success that it is! Together, we do make a difference! ❤️ Email steeseg@gmail.com for more info on our program, or to find out how you can adopt one of these working felines, at no cost to you. 🐱❤️

Twas The Night Before Transports

Christmas dog and kittens.

Twas the night before the large transport

And all thru the shelter halls,

Not a creature could stand still due to excitement

And all you heard was barking thru their jaws.


What a wonderful feeling this is for them

Was the thought of the shelter director,

As she helped get each one ready for their big day

Even the cats were giving her a purrrr.


As she scheduled vet visits for spay and neutering,

And made sure all shots were up to date,

No one really realized just how much work this was

And that she had to stay up real late.


Each dog and cat getting ready for their trip

Had to undergo a temperament test,

To make sure they were a good fit for each rescue

And to make sure they were all at their very best.


As no one sees what goes on behind the closed doors

What this Shelter Director and staff really go through,

The hate mail, the great mail and so much more

But to them it’s all in a day’s work for them all to do.


So the day did come and the drivers showed up

In their vans o’ plenty and crates all the same,

They all had smiles on their faces and said lets load up

And they whistled and shouted and called them by name.


Now Penny! Now Butch!  Now, Princess and Trixie!

Now Bear! Now Sampson! Now, Belle and Dixie!

To the top of the crates the loading starts

And making sure all secured so no one darts!


All dogs and cats are secure and drivers are all happy

As each animal they took starts to get settle in,

For a long ride ahead going up north

As some have adoptions awaiting right out of their pen!


Then the shelter staff looks around at all the empty cages

Knowing the season they will be full again soon

But they won’t stop until they get them adopted or rescued

As that is the only song they sing with this tune.


They go back to the one’s that stayed and pat their heads

As they know their day is coming soon too

So it’s time to start preparing the fundraising for transports

As it’s certainly not cheap and takes so much time to do.


As the new little ones start rolling it again

They are greeted and named and petted,

As they are gathering up their paperwork

For them to prepare to be vetted.


The volunteers are called in to take them all

For their scheduled visits to the vet,

As none would be possible without them

And the staff appreciates them all and helps get them set.


As the next transport starts to take shape

Everyone needs to help to do their part

By donating, volunteering and saying praise

As no one likes negative as it sour as a tart.


So give praise to where it’s due

By social media, letters, or to any and all listeners,

Just explain all the lives that have been saved

In your emails to even the County Commissioners!


As this comes to a close, and I heard the shelter staff say,

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Day!



Written by Dena Stapleton

Effingham County Commissioners Contact Information

If you are in need of the Commissioners Emails to send an email to about anything related to the shelter please make sure you are speaking in a very nice manner. No Commissioner wants an email with harsh words and it also makes HOPE and the Shelter look bad too.



Wendall Kessler wkessler@effinghamcounty.org

Forrest Floyd ffloyd@effinghamcounty.org

Vera Jones vjonesdistrict2@aol.com

Jamie Deloach jamiedeloachdistrict3@gmail.com

Reggie Loper comm.rsloper.dist4@gmail.com

Phil Keifer philkiefferdistrict5@gmail.com

Jamie Deloach is the district commissioner for the shelter

County Administrator is Toss Allen 912-754-2123


Christmas Pet Food Giveaway Nominations are being taken now!!!


We are thankful for everyone who has helped HOPE throughout the year with donations and such. We are going to host a giveaway from today until Dec 16th, so basically one week. The giveaway is for a needy family to help them out by HOPE providing a bag of cat food or dog food to the family. We have 20 bags of dog food ranging from large to small bags and 20 bags of cat food again ranging from small to large bags. No guarantee as to what size bag you will get.

All bags of food have been donated by various places and from various sponsors that are to remain anonymous . But we can say the Effingham County Animal Shelter is donating one bag of dog food and one bag of cat food to show their appreciation in all that HOPE does for them. That said, they have also offered to be the storage facility for the 40 bags. When the winners are selected and notified they will pick up their bag from the shelter. The nominations must be local to the Effingham area to be able to pick up their bag!

Please send submissions to hope31329@comcast.net. This is for nominations only and not for yourself. Provide the following information of the family you are nominating:

  1. Name including first and last name
  2. Phone number
  3. Email address
  4. If they own a dog or cat (only select one for nominations)
  5. Explain why this family needs this right now. Be descriptive.


HOPE will select 20 dogs and 20 cats to receive the Christmas Pet Food Giveaway. Owners will be notified by phone/email and they will have until the end of December to pick up their bag of food. If they have both a dog and cat, they will be told which bag they will be picking up from their nomination. Any bags not picked up by Jan 2nd will be forfeited and a new person will be selected or it will be given to the shelter or a rescue.

Good luck everyone. And please share this. Thank you!