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Private Refuge in Raeford Protects Pets

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RAEFORD — A Hoke County couple has saved hundreds of animals on the verge of being killed. Theirs is one of the biggest private animal shelters in the state. Now, Linden and Steve Spear are getting ready to take on even more.

"We've been doing this for about two years, and right now our population is about 400 cats, dogs, puppies and kittens," Linden Spear explains. "There are so many homeless animals in this area that are adoptable that are worth saving. We are in the luxurious position of having 200 acres that we can give to these animals to give them a safe haven until we can find the right home."

The Spears run a no-kill shelter. They take on animals from Cumberland and Hoke counties and Fort Bragg, then grocery stores in Greensboro and Aberdeen give the spears damaged bags and cans of dog food.

"Some of the animals we will custom train to live in long term care facilities with people," Spears says. "Some we will prepare for conventional adoptions into homes in suburbia."

It's not unusual for the spears to use a mortgage payment to buy a new pen or animal medicine.

"At this point, we're paying adoption fees to the shelters that we're working with," explains Spears. "They have expenses they need to be compensated for. We need to raise the funds to buy these animals out of the shelters, so then we can evaluate them, get them healthy, get them spayed and neutered and then present them for adoption."

This summer, the Spears plan to use their shelter as part of a youth vocational service-- a service in which kids will be responsible for training and taking care of the dogs and ultimately playing a part in finding them a permanent home.

If you would like to volunteer your time and services to the animal shelter you can call them at910-875-6768.

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John McDonnell, Reporter
Doug Bricker, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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