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Animal rescue shelter in Okeechobee County makes tough decision to shut down

'We are running basically with 2 people, 7 days a week'
Dog up for adoption at Trail of Hope Animal Rescue, Aug. 9, 2022
Posted at 4:54 AM, Aug 11, 2022

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — The only no-kill animal shelter in Okeechobee County said it has no choice but to close its doors by next week.

Trail of Hope Animal Rescue said on their Facebook page that the closure was a difficult decision and a result of not enough volunteers and adoptions.

Founded in 2017, the nonprofit said some of its dogs have been waiting for years to be adopted.

The shelter's Facebook post said they are operating with just two people, seven days a week.

The post on social media prompted more than 200 comments with users posting pictures of the furry friends they have adopted from the agency.

The operators said they still "have a lot of dogs" that need homes as soon as possible.

"We have many available at a discounted adoption fee," their Facebook post said. "All dogs are available for $150."

Dog up for adoption at Trail of Hope Animal Rescue, Aug. 7, 2022
Trail of Hope Animal Rescue Inc. posted on Aug. 7, 2022, that "Willow" is 4 years old and is a "sweet momma."

They said that their funding has dried up, and they have no choice but to close up on Aug. 19.

The shelter now has less than two weeks to find homes for 27 dogs.

Diane Thorne, who has been a volunteer for five years, said Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Loxahatchee Groves is taking their puppies. However, they still have at least 15 dogs in need of a good home.

Diane Thorne, Trail of Hope Animal Rescue worker
Diane Thorne says she and others at the Trail of Hope Animal Rescue are working to find good homes for their dogs before closing.

"Everybody’s having a hard time," Thorne said. "It makes it tough to get volunteers, tough to get money because in order to run this we have to have a vet, food. We have to have everything."

Thorne said once Trail of Hope shuts down the closest no-kill shelter will be in Martin County.

Okeechobee Animal Control said it will still take in dogs from around the county and do what it can to adopt them out to homes, but it is not considered "no-kill."

The animal rescue is located at 1201 US Highway 98 near Okeechobee. They can be reached at 863-357-1104.