Photo of the Day

Bigbee and Uprooted Junk_1255


UPROOTED JUNK recently offered a discount to customers who brought in pet food to be donated to Bigbee Humane Society.  Pictured (L-R) are Nick, Sinda, Keira and Kemper Fendley of UPROOTED JUNK along with Whitney Niehoff, Martha Ellis, Donna McPherson and Cindy McDonald of Bigbee Humane Society.

Humane Society, volunteer pilot help save ‘Bigbee’

Bigbee Humane Society had one of the biggest days in their history of rescue on Friday, May 29 when they received a call regarding a puppy found in a rural area of Marengo County. Since there is not a county shelter, Bigbee Humane Society was the only contact for Marengo County.

Bigbee Humane Society accepted the puppy because another rescue was willing to help them. The dog was taken to Demopolis Animal Clinic Thursday morning. The injuries were much more severe than what they originally had thought.



The dog would not be making his transport ride Friday morning. Bigbee, as he was named, had a dislocated hip, a crack in the ball of his other hip joint, both of his hind legs were broken as well as both of his feet.

Bigbee Humane Society is not equipped to handle injures such as this, so their volunteers worked tirelessly to find a placement for baby Bigbee. He was going to need some major surgeries and around the clock care.

Prayers were answered Friday morning when Bigbee Humane Society got a call that a pilot was flying from Tampa, Fla., that afternoon to pick up Bigbee. Some of the Bigbee volunteers met the plane at Demopolis Airport to deliver Bigbee for his freedom ride.

He will be seeing an orthopedic specialist to operate on all of his injures.

“This by far was one of the happiest days we have had for Bigbee Humane Society,” Whitney Niehoff said.

Bigbee Humane Society operates solely on donations, fundraisers, and revenue brought in by their thrift store located on North Strawberry Street. In 2015, they have placed 58 dogs in forever homes already.

“Nothing this big has ever happened for Bigbee Humane Society before,” said volunteer Cindy McDonald.

Bigbee Humane Society volunteers Cindy McDonald, Whitney Niehoff and Donna McPherson with Bigbee.

Bigbee Humane Society volunteers Cindy McDonald, Whitney Niehoff and Donna McPherson with Bigbee.

“Last week Bigbee Humane Society managed to find rescue commitments for every dog at Linden City Pound, and we thought that was big,” Niehoff said.

The Society saved a mama dog, her seven babies, two male dogs, and two female puppies that were facing euthanasia.

“City Pounds are not equipped to house dogs long term, so we were happy to step in and help. The City of Linden could not have been happier for the assistance,” Niehoff said.

Bigbee Humane Society is run by six volunteers who work hard to provide the best care for their dogs until they can find forever homes. They have 60 kennels, and they are always filled to capacity because once a dog is adopted, three more are waiting to be helped.

Bigbee Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, so if it takes years to place the dog then they are committed to caring for the animal until they are adopted.

“We believe every dog deserves a chance at a loving home,” volunteer Martha Ellis said.

Bigbee Humane to sell lunch during COTR Saturday

Brunswick stew, chili and barbeque are on the menu Saturday during Christmas on the River, thanks to the Bigbee Humane Society.
The meals, including drinks and chips or crackers, are $5 each and will be sold from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 104 N. Walnut St., the former location of the Bigbee Thrift Store.
Woody Collins, David Freeman and John Russell are preparing the Brunswick stew again this year.  All proceeds go toward the upkeep of the humane society’s shelter.

Bigbee Humane holding spaghetti supper

A Spaghetti Supper Monday, Oct. 20, will benefit the Bigbee Humane Society.

Proceeds from the dinner will go toward paying vet bills, providing housing and buying food and other supplies needed by the society to care for the stray dogs picked up in Demopolis.

Tickets for the dinner are $8 each and may be purchased at the Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Store on Strawberry Street during the operating hours on Friday and Saturday. Tickets also may be reserved by calling 334-216-1029.

Drive-through pick up will be at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

In addition to the supper, the society also is sponsoring a drawing for a large Alabama-themed wreath. Donations are $1 each.

Youth donates birthday proceeds to Humane Society

Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Shop volunteers Kathy Wilson (left) and Virginia Overstreet (right) accept a donation for the Bigbee Humane Society from Sally Mackey (center).

Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Shop volunteers Kathy Wilson (left) and Virginia Overstreet (right) accept a donation for the Bigbee Humane Society from Sally Mackey (center).

Sally Mackey’s love for animals goes all the way back to age 3, when she started riding horses, according to her mother.

“She loves horses and we also have three dogs,” said Lori Mackey. “She’s just an animal person.”

But Sally is not content just to enjoy the company of her pets. She wants to help animals who do not have the benefit of a loving family.

That desire to help sparked an idea in her mom’s mind. For Sally’s 14th birthday, Lori gave her daughter a surprise party with a twist.

“I asked her friends, instead of bringing gifts, to bring a donation to the Bigbee Humane Society,” Lori explained. The response was great, and on Saturday morning Sally donated the $150 to the Demopolis organization.

Sally’s desire to help animals extends back into the past as well as into the future. Her plans are to become a veterinarian, and she has volunteered at the veterinary clinic in Greensboro since the age of 10.

“The Humane Society was very appreciative,” Lori Mackey said of Saturday’s donation, “but it’s important to thank Sally’s friends. They are the ones who gave.”

Jefferson Country Store selling shirts to suppor Bigbee Humane

Pictured left to right at Jefferson Country Store are George Patterson, Bigbee Volunteers Dakota Cunningham, Cindy McDonald (holding a Store Dog shirt) Tommy Hewitt, Donna McPherson and Martha Ellis, with Jefferson Country Store owners Betsy Compton, Tony Luker, and Mary Sam Luker (holding check). Not pictured: Store Dog 1

Pictured left to right at Jefferson Country Store are George Patterson, Bigbee Volunteers Dakota Cunningham, Cindy McDonald (holding a Store Dog shirt) Tommy Hewitt, Donna McPherson and Martha Ellis, with Jefferson Country Store owners Betsy Compton, Tony Luker, and Mary Sam Luker (holding check). Not pictured: Store Dog 1

Store Dog ShirtIn support of Bigbee Humane Society, several people in and around Marengo County have donned “Store Dog” t-shirts purchased at Jefferson Country Store. On Saturday, March 8,volunteers from Bigbee picked up a check for $200, proceeds from the first round of t-shirt sales.

The t-shirts feature the store’s four-legged friend, Store Dog 1, the only survivor of three dogs who came to the store shortly after it opened for business in October. The dog is cared for by the community, including neighbors who stop by on Sunday afternoons to leave food and treats for him.

A limited quantity of shirts is still available at the store, and additional sizes or quantities can be pre-ordered at Jefferson Country Store. For more information, email or visit the store’s page at

Bigbee Humane thrift store in jeopardy

Located on North Walnut Street, the Bigbee Humane Society thrift store is open every Friday and Saturday morning to bargain hunters looking for unique items.

For almost five years the Bigbee Humane Society has fed its dogs from the proceeds of the store. That income is in jeopardy with the notice that the society must vacate the building.

Kathy Wilson, secretary, said the society’s benefactor had a long-term lease on the property but decided not to renew it. The society had been paying only the water and electricity.

“The owner said it would not be available for us to rent,” said Wilson. “He said he had another tenant.”

Bigbee’s officers have given themselves one month to find another location, if possible. They are looking for another site for next to no cost.

“The ideal thing would be the same situation, a building owner that would let us use it for (the cost of) utilities,” said Wilson.

The society is a non-profit organization, which means the rent could be tax deductible for the building’s owner, she continued.

In the meantime, the group is having a terrific sale “to reduce the amount of things we‘ll have to move,” said Wilson.

Thrift store sales pay for the $300 cost of dog food each week. Donations help pay for utilities, veterinary bills and other expenses, said Wilson, which amounts to another $300 each week.

“Without the thrift store we are going to be significantly strapped,” she said. The consequences of that could be closing the shelter or being unable to accept as many animals as the group does now.

Anyone wishing to help the society either through a new location or cash donations can call Wilson at 334-216-1029, or Virginia Overstreet, treasurer, at 289-4049

Bigbee Humane Society continues the fight to save animals

Most of us rush home after work to feed our families and take care of other household chores. For two Demopolis residents, Cindy McDonald and Martha Ellis, the end of the day means that it’s time to hurry to the Bigbee Humane Society to care for over 70 animals.

They lack electricity at the facility, so most of the feeding, watering, cleaning and nurturing takes place in the dark. The dedication of these two ladies is quite remarkable, and it is easy to understand why Bigbee Humane Society won the Business of the Year award in 2012 from the Demopolis Chamber of Commerce, although technically they are a 501c3 charitable organization.

The Bigbee Humane Society merged with City of Demopolis four years ago because animals were being put down after 7-10 days. The City of Demopolis allowed a small space for Bigbee near their animal control facility.

At that time the Bigbee Humane Society began building built 10×10 kennels to save each animal, one at a time. They have grown from that point to house 70 or more animals. They are at full capacity.

Almost all dogs that they rescue come from the local area but about 98 percent go out of the area, transported by volunteers who pay the expenses out of their own pocket. As McDonald stated, “The animals come out of some harsh conditions in the local area, so why put them right back out there again?”

Bigbee Humane Society works with regional, state, and national groups to find good homes for the animals they rescue.

Expenses to feed and care for the animals at the shelter run approximately $300 per week. The Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Store in downtown Demopolis, operated by other volunteers such as Sylvia Homan, Kathy Wilson, and Virginia Overstreet, generates about $500 per week in revenue.

The vet bills for the animals runs in the thousands of dollars. Bigbee Humane Society pays on the bill when they can and have benefitted from the Demopolis Animal Clinic letting them pay the bill down as they can. The society works very hard to stretch every dollar as much as they can.

The Bigbee Humane Society has only one paid employee. Otherwise, Cindy and Martha, and occasional volunteers, take care of everything that needs to be done for the animals – feeding and watering, cleaning the cages, looking for homes or places to transport the animals to, taking them to the vet, and trying to keep the society’s Facebook page updated to showcase the animals that are available consumes all of their time.

Cindy states that taking care of the animals is the equivalent of a 40 hour a week job – in addition to her “real full time job” and taking care of her own family.

The facility has come a long way in four years. Although all animals still have to reside outside, they do have concrete pads and pavers, finally, so none of the animals have to live in the dirt and mud. Flooding had been a huge problem there at one time. All dogs have some measure of shelter from the elements now, but it’s still not an ideal situation.

What does the future hold for Bigbee Humane Society? Ideally, according to Cindy and Martha, they would find an acre of land that someone would be willing to donate to them or lease, and they could move the kennels there to have more space available, and also have electricity installed for the facility. The partnership with the City of Demopolis has allowed them to function at a basic level for the past four years, but they are always mindful that the city can end that partnership with 30 days notice.

Having a place of their own would alleviate that concern and also allow them have more control over the process of accepting animals. Currently, animal control takes in animals, and they then become Bigbee’s responsibility.

Cindy and Martha reflected on the fact that some of the animals have lived at the shelter the entire time since they took over four years ago. The lives of these animals depend of these two ladies and the few other volunteers who help them. It’s hard work caring for the animals, but it is a labor of love.

The Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Store is located in downtown Demopolis on Walnut Street and is open Fridays and Saturdays. They accept items for resale. The Facebook page for Bigbee Humane Society can be viewed at

They recently set up a Paypal account to be able to accept online donations, and also recently posted a video to their Facebook page that helps tell their story.

-Article contributed by Angelia Mance

Bigbee Humane to hold Spaghetti Supper

Bigbee Humane Society will hold a Spaghetti Supper on Monday, Oct. 7. Pick-up only, at First Baptist Church drive through, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. All proceeds go directly to care for the dogs at the shelter. Tickets are $8, available at Colony Office Products, from any Bigbee member, or call 334-216-1029.