Humane Society gets a home

Published 1:36 pm Wednesday, December 24, 2008

When Nora Riddick died years ago, she didn’t want her land to be sold.

“She wanted it used for animals,” said Elizabeth Epps, who held onto the land for a decade. Riddick’s will stated her property should be used exclusively for animals, Epps said.

Finally, Epps has found a cause that she believes will fulfill Riddick’s wishes.

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Epps, Rhoda Rupp and G.P. Jackson, all founding members of the Suffolk SPCA, recently donated the land and a cinder block building on it to the Suffolk Humane Society.

“They’ve worked for two years, and they have raised enough money with their Mutt Strut and several different things,” Epps said. “We thought it was going to be apropos.”

The three-acre plot and 1,000 square-foot building, located on Pruden Boulevard, will be used as the new headquarters for the Suffolk Humane Society. The building, which is in disrepair, will be renovated and converted into the main office of SHS.

The organization’s “offices” are now located in several members’ garages and a post office box, said Angela Chandler, the executive director of the society. She anticipates the renovation taking about a year.

“This is a Cinderella tale for Suffolk Humane,” Chandler said.

In addition to serving as offices, the building will be a drop-off point for donations, a location to host the Neuter Scooter on spay days, and a location for humane education and monthly meetings.

It is too soon to tell if they will be able to build a shelter on the property, Chandler said. Until they know, they will continue working with the adoptable animals at Suffolk Animal Control.

The Suffolk Humane Society began two years ago to promote the welfare of companion animals in the community. Since then, the group has grown exponentially in members and volunteers, sponsored spay/neuter programs, placed homeless animals in permanent homes, and provided education on responsible pet ownership.

Chandler said she is grateful that Epps decided to donate the land.

“I think it’s got to the point where she felt comfortable and assured that the land that’s donated to Suffolk Humane is for the benefit of the animals,” Chandler said. “It’s amazing and like a fairy tale.”

Epps has been invited to be on the board of the Suffolk Humane Society, Chandler said.

“I just think it’s important to remember what it is that was done before us,” she said. “She’ll obviously have some good insight as we move forward.”

Epps said she was pleased to offer the land to Suffolk Humane, because it is working toward the same goal the Suffolk SPCA once was.

“We’re all finally walking the same lane and working together for the same goal.”