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Belvidere Animal Shelter Loses Power, Threatening Lives

A local animal shelter loses power and then their furnace dies, leaving staffers fearing the worst.
BELVIDERE - At the Fresh Start Animal Rescue, space heaters and blankets tell the story of the past couple of days.

It started with a power outage in bone-chilling temperatures.

Jenn Hardy, a manager at the shelter, states, "The night before, the power went out around 2:00 am and when we got here around 7:00 am in the morning, we came [and found] our pregnant mom having her babies and that started our day going."

Then, their furnace died.

Kirsten Wager, another manager at the shelter, says, "It was pretty scary at first."

Last night, when they put out a call for help, they did it using Facebook. And, it didn't take long for that call to get answered.

Wager adds, "Within less than a half hour, we had many people donating, walking in with blankets, people coming in just to take an animal out of here to keep warm."

A Machesney Park business owner was moved to provide the biggest gift of all. MP Heating and Cooling donated a new furnace and all the labor involved.

Jessica Runge, operations manager for MP Heating and Cooling says, "A day or 2 without them saving animals is going to be a big difference in the community, and we wanted to make sure they stayed up and running."

Fresh Start Animal Rescue is home to about 3 dozen cats and 3 dozen dogs. They always operate at capacity because every furry friend they take in represents a life saved.

"It's a passion and each and every one of these guys [cats and dogs] has a little bit of our hearts," Wager affirms.

It is a passion which endured the worst blast of winter in decades, thanks to community support.

"It was an experience that makes you realize that there are still good hearted, kind people out there that are willing to step up when there's people in need and animals in need," Hardy adds.

Wager agrees, "They truly are saviors to our rescue."

If you would like to make a donation to Fresh Start Animal Rescue, just call (815) 572-2481. Right now, they need the following items: paper towels, gently used towels and blankets, canned dog and cat food (any brand), dog and cat toys and treats, Dawn dish soap, stainless steel bowls/dishes, liquid hand soap, bleach, cleaning supplies, office supplies (paper, pens, etc.), and gift cards to Wal-Mart, Petco, PetSmart, and for gas and oil changes for the transportation of animals.


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