To improve the welfare of the animals of Orleans and Essex Counties by sheltering and caring for lost and unwanted animals, spaying and neutering, placing animals in humane environments, and implementing programs to provide services for the promotion of responsible pet ownership.
The Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter continues to provide the same caring services to homeless cats and dogs in the Northeast Kingdom with a mission unchanged from its beginning in 1993:
To improve the welfare of the animals of Orleans and Essex Counties by sheltering and caring for lost and unwanted animals, spaying and neutering, placing animals in humane environments, and implementing programs to provide services for the promotion of responsible pet ownership. Celebrating 20 Years!
Originally founded as The Frontier Animal Society of Vermont, Inc., the organization was started by a handful of Northeast Kingdom residents in March of 1993. Most of the members of this group had been associated with the Elizabeth Brown Humane Society. However, finding that very little was being done at that time for the homeless dogs and cats of Orleans County, several of the members decided to form a non-profit organization to help these animals in need.
One of the first priorities and challenges was to develop a strategy to handle the problematic cat over-population and to do so in a humane and ethical manner. A much needed cat spay/neuter clinic was developed. This low-cost clinic is still in existence today and remains available to the public 16-17 times a year (once or twice monthly) at the shelter facility. Over the past 20 years, we estimate that close to 14,000 cats have been spayed or neutered at these clinics, while also receiving necessary vaccines to alleviate the spread of disease.
“During the shelter’s early years, all of our adoptable animals were housed and cared for through the kindness and generosity of local caring residents who volunteered to foster these animals in their own homes,” states Betsy Hampton, one of the founders of the organization. “We have been fortunate in that the local veterinarians have also always been very generous and supportive of our efforts and we, in turn, have always strived to be financially responsible for their services.”
In 2001, a generous supporter was instrumental in financing a temporary shelter at the home of one of our volunteers who fostered dogs. This decision came after a failed attempt to construct a permanent shelter in Newport due to a failed Act 250 septic application. These temporary kennels, and later a cattery, were located in Hardwick. While having a more permanent structure was advantageous in one way, unfortunately, the location was disadvantageous as it was more remote and not easily accessible for local residents.
After selling the Newport property, the organization’s Board of Directors decided to buy a piece of property in the Orleans Industrial Park. This property already had most of Act 250 requirements, and after getting all permits in place, Board members and supporters forged ahead to plan a building. “We were very fortunate to have a local architect named Arthur Postman work with us on the floor plans and kennel set up” recalls Betsy. “Many area businesses gave our organization free or reduced-cost services to help get our great shelter built. Our grand opening was in May of 2003.” Two years ago, Mr. Lyman Pope, a longtime supporter of our shelter and other New England shelters, presented us with a financial endowment to be used specifically for future capital expenses. In return, to commemorate this notable generosity, the shelter’s name was changed to Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter, Inc.
The Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter in Orleans, VT continues to provide the same caring services to homeless cats and dogs in the Northeast Kingdom with the same mission of the past 20 years: To improve the welfare of the animals of Orleans and Essex Counties by sheltering and caring for lost and unwanted animals, spaying and neutering, placing animals in humane environments, and implementing programs to provide services for the promotion of responsible pet ownership.
In nothing that this year marks a 20-year anniversary for the organization and a 10-year anniversary for the shelter facility in Orleans, Betsy Hampton has the full support of her fellow Board members, as well as the shelter staff and volunteers when she states that “It is our earnest hope that with the continued help from volunteers, ongoing commitment from local communities, and generous support from community members, the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter will be able to continue its mission for many years to come!”