BY JACLYN ROSE –
Tammy Stockton and her husband, Russell, moved to Mena, from Florida, after spending several years in a row vacationing in the area. “We were raising three boys: Matthew and Patrick and our now late son, Brandon, and were heavy in boy scouting and we spent lots of time outdoors. We were raised on a farm and wanted our boys to have the same freedom and experiences so we moved to a small town. It is so very peaceful here,” explained Stockton.
Eleven years ago, Stockton began working for the City of Mena in their animal control department. “In animal control when you take an animal to a shelter you house them for a period of time and then normal protocol is to euthanize them. I did it one time and then I knew I could never do it again. I had to find an alternate means, so I began taking personal money to spay, neuter, vaccinate, worm and re-home the animals. Mena is now one of five animal control programs in the state that finds an alternative means to euthanizing their stray animals,” Stockton explained. “My mother, Diana Stockton, who is my rock and who I owe so much to, had started For Sake of Animals, which aides on the county level, several years prior.”
Together, Stockton and her mother saw that many of the animals were not being adopted, they were strays for a reason, and so they began attending pet adoptions events far and wide. After getting the pets in condition to be adopted, they go to two different PetCo stores in Hot Springs and Fort Smith, two times a month. They also go to Glenwood and Mount Ida and set up in front of the grocery stores. They keep their adoption fees as minimal as they can so the pets can find a good home.
Because the city does not have the funds to assist in the process of re-homing pets, this is something Stockton was doing out of her own pocket at the rate of $300-$500 per week. Financing was hard, so seven years ago, Stockton opened a personal antique store to help fund her mission. After a couple years of high overhead, she closed down and changed her plan.
“Two and a half years ago, a friend of mine, who owned a big barn on Highway 8, suggested we start a thrift store, so we did. When we ran out of room, we moved in to town to Rice Furniture, when she had to close down we moved to the little yellow house on the corner by Cruizzers where we had twice the room. But after just six months our donations over filled the store. We have now moved to a bigger and better place at 901 S. Mena Street in the old Cosmetology School across from Sears,” Stockton explained.
K.O.P.S.’s, which stands for Keep Our Pets Safe, hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm. They happily and gratefully accept donations of anything that can be sold, as well as any monetary donation someone would like to make. Also located in their store is their cat room, where cats and kittens available for adoption can be viewed and played with. K.O.P.S. is a non profit which operates by volunteers, and they are thankful for anyone who would want to give their time to volunteer in their store.
“K.O.P.S. will also allow the side of our building to be rented for $15 a day, to host yard sales for people who live too far out of town to have their own. We will supply the tables and clothes racks and you can set up all your stuff,” explained Stockton. Additionally K.O.P.S. offers a wonderful program to assist local citizens through discount spay and neuter rates, for more information on this or any of their other services, please contact the store by calling 479.394.5677.