Illinois Reporter

Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University

Spending time at Coles County Animal Shelter

By Annie Banks, Elizabeth Johnston, and Kaitlyn Brennan

A multitude of cats and dogs find their foster or permanent homes at the Coles County Animal Shelter in Charleston, Ill. Here, animals are rescued and cared for, sometimes requiring the assistance of animal control officers.

“We respond to emergencies even after hours,” said Marty Webster, one of the shelter’s officers. “It’s not just an eight hour job, it’s something that’s required every day.”

Visitors are encouraged to interact with dogs in the meet and greet room and are also welcome to visit the juvenile and adult cat rooms.

cat mid yawn mouth openA 1-year-old tiger cat yawns as she wakes up from a nap on June 23 at a Coles County animal shelter. Cats at this shelter are readily available for adoption.

Big Boy

Big Boy, a 6-month-old Dachshund puppy, eagerly awaits visitors on Friday at the shelter. “We had a lady who had nine dogs trapped in a trailer… they had never seen sun, grass or been on a leash,” shelter PR representative Marissa Burton said. Big Boy was among the confiscated dogs.

Edited J Orange White

An 8-month-old cat plays with tassels at the Coles County shelter on Friday. Volunteers and visitors are welcome to play with cats at the shelter.


Two-year-old Pit Bull dog, Jewel, excitedly meets visitors on Friday at the shelter. Despite the stigma against Pit Bulls, “She’s a good’en,” Burton said as she wipes her face with the collar of her shirt after Jewel had given her enthusiastic kisses.

Buff 23

The 8-month-old cat’s eyes follow a bug across the ceiling at the animal shelter on Friday.  The shelter has high adoption rates, but dogs are in higher demand than cats according to Burton.


Another 6-month-old Dachshund puppy named Cheyenne clings to Burton on Friday in the meeting room of the shelter. She is “very, very timid,” Burton said. “She’s just scared. Scared to death.”

Buff Chew .jpg

On Friday, an 8-month-old cat gnaws away on a camera tripod as she plays with a visiting photographer’s equipment. Last month, only 27 cats were adopted, whereas 44 dogs were adopted according to Burton. This imbalance results in the shelter housing more cats than dogs.

On Back J Orange White

At the shelter on Friday, an 8-month-old cat entertains herself as she plays with tassels that were teased above her. All three of the shelter’s juvenile cats live together in the juvenile room.


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This entry was posted on June 23, 2017 by in Photo Essay and tagged , , , , , , .
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