Sue Manion and Georgia Drager-Animal AdvocatesJack Briggs

Tales from the Cathouse

A solution to the dog and cat problem has eluded Cameron for a long, long time. We’ve had a 1950’s dog shelter for years and unsuccessful efforts have been made to replace or upgrade it.

The animals have not had a greater champion than Sue Manion. Back in 1997 she started the “Safe Haven” project for dogs and got it licensed in 2000. It was an alternative to the days of killing stray dogs that were caught in the city. 

She then started adopting them out … and she and Gary have borne the expense for decades. Other animal lovers came to the fore with donations.

When she was a senior in high school, Georgia Drager did a school report on the effort and that reinforced in her the love of cats. She volunteered with the City Animal Shelter and with Safe Haven to work on getting animals new homes.

After ground was cleared and electricity and water brought in, big-hearted Georgia started GiGi’s Purrs & Pawz in 2016 on land purchased by the Manions. 

Buildings were donated by Dr. Mark Carr and the Manions so that $3,500 worth of cages could be installed and there was space for an office and supplies. They were heated and cooled, and the effort netted a state license.

Hundreds of cats were saved and placed in new homes.

Obviously, with veterinarian bills, utilities, food, insurance, litter, etc, the effort requires a lot of money.  Georgia has headed a couple of fund-raisers that netted around $2,000 and there have been a lot of personal donations.

The long volunteer hours and expense have taken a toll, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when she came to the shelter and found a carboard box of kittens …that had been cooked to death on a hot summer day.

So ‘Purrs and Pawz” is no more. The houses were donated to “Reno Ranch” near Excelsior Springs. Tracy Reno has been helping Cameron for years in taking in strays.

Georgia won’t have an office anymore but intends to help people planning on spaying and neutering their cats. She works with a veterinarian who has cut his fee substantially.

And she has a network of people who offer to foster kittens and cats. Some are so small that they require bottle feeding. But this story has a happy ending: Last year the council named a citizen’s committee to try to come up with ideas. They came up with a plan to build a new shelter … but it was expensive the effort died on the council table.

Then an anonymous donor came riding to the rescue with $200,000 to help build a 2,400 square-foot “Animal Care Facility.” The council is in the process of approving $300,000 for the effort as well as about $50,000 in ”in-kind” work by city workers on site preparation.

That still falls a little short of the $611,000 bid but supportive friends are working to get the rest in private donations. Meanwhile, Georgia is working on ways to help folks get their pets spayed and neutered at a greatly reduced $40 - $50 price. She is hoping to be able to offer vouchers in those amounts. If you would like to help her, she may be contacted at or at PO Box 106 in Cameron, 64429. Your donations are tax deductible.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ― Mahatma Gandhi 


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P.O. Box 498
Cameron, MO 64429
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