Local Animal Shelter Receives Accidental Donation

It seemed as if the rescue pets luck was turning around a couple of months ago at Ward-Wiseman Animal Haven in Collinsville. That is when shelter founder, Susan Babbitt got a message that she was not expecting.

"When I saw 188,900 and something thousand, I just was amazed. I could not believe it," said Babbitt.

Much-needed funding was on the way.

"Oh my... We were absolutely elated."

But that feeling would not last long. The donation made from a deceased Arizona woman's trust was not meant for the Collinsville animal shelter, after all. The intended recipient was almost 500 miles away at a shelter in Collinsville, Illinois. The donation was a mistake.

"Devastated... devastated. Because, it gave us such freedom to continue our work. And we're always worried about having to close down," said Babbitt.

She founded the 'no-kill' shelter in 2008, after seeing the need for one in Collinsville. She was already planning to extend the shelter's operating hours and make improvements to the building. The funding was also going to buy the rescue center a new computer. The one they have is broken, with no money to fix it.

But, even as she sends the donation back today, Babbitt is still optimistic about the shelter's future.

"It was just, that dream was taken away. But, it really isn't. We're just going to go to 'Plan B'... whatever 'Plan B" happens to be."

Babbitt opened a book store on Main St. in March, called the Bookshelf on Main. All proceeds from the store go to the Ward-Wiseman Animal Haven.