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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

HSO kicks off new year with board elections, honors volunteers

Humane Society of the Ouachitas kicked off its new year at its monthly meeting held on January 21. The 2021 annual election of Board members confirmed all incumbents, running unchallenged from the previous year, will continue to serve in their current positions. HSO regrets that, due to social distancing requirements, the public cannot be invited to attend the monthly meetings at this time. 

Tina Ball, HSO’s volunteer Shelter Director (going on 15 years of service) shared some of HSO’s achievements in 2020. In its 42nd year of doing business as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, HSO continues to serve Polk County animals in need, including abandoned, underfed, sick, injured or pregnant pets which receive humane care as they are scheduled to be taken into the shelter. 

HSO does not euthanize pets due to need for kennel space or age of pet. All pets stay at the shelter until a loving home can be found, or transported to another shelter. Although 2020 rendered many challenges, HSO served 764 animals, with a 99% live release rate, and adoptions up 19%!  

Grant funds received from large corporate donors made possible many upgrades and improvements to the 40+ year old shelter building and grounds, such as replacing the well pump of unknown age, adding forced air heating and a/c, and purchase of an industrial grade pet bathing-tub and cat kennels. 

“Local donors and volunteers are still the life-blood of HSO, and in spite of 2020 challenges, our community continues to be faithful to help HSO do its life-saving work,” stated 14-year volunteer Secretary Cheryl Murphy. “HSO may be a small rural shelter, but HSO has come a long way since its humble beginnings.”  

At the meeting, founding member Laura Lee Darr, who still lives in the area, was honored as an organizer and signer of HSO’s charter in 1978.  HSO’s 5 year volunteer Treasurer Sheila Theriot, was also recognized as “Volunteer of the Year” for 2020, noting her commitment to excellence in keeping HSO’s books!  For more information on volunteering or being a pet foster parent, the shelter office can be contacted at 479-394-5682 or

Volunteers are Cat’s Meow!

Courtesy photos

Above, the 2021 HSO Board of Directors, from left, standing: Sheila Theriot, Mike Lloyd, Tina Ball, Neal Fosdick, Jane Crowder from left, seated:  Wendy Syfret, Denie Westphal, Cheryl Murphy.

Below, Treasurer Sheila Theriot accepts her Volunteer of the Year plaque from President Neal Fosdick.

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