FARMINGTON, MO – As the only no-kill pet adoption shelter serving six counties just south of St. Louis, the Farmington Pet Adoption Center receives anywhere from 15 to 20 abandoned and unwanted pets a month. It finds homes for about 150 dogs and cats a year. But providing lifesaving care and treatment for unwanted pets from such a large geographic area was becoming more challenging in the aging building sheltering the animals.
“The heating and cooling system in the shelter was outdated, inefficient and costly,” said Jim Bilhorn, Farmington Pet Adoption Center volunteer. “We had a plan to modernize the system with two heat pumps, but it required major improvements to our electrical infrastructure that we just couldn’t afford.” Then, Bilhorn met Lee Asher, business representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1.
“A lot of our IBEW workforce and retirees live in the Farmington area and were familiar with the long history of Farmington Pet Adoption Center,” said Asher. “I contacted IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs and we came up with a plan to leverage our Electrical Connection labor-management partnership to help.” The Electrical Connection is a partnership of IBEW and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
Mobilizing a local IBEW team consisting of retirees Wyman Nash and Kevin Pettus and
journeyman wireman Mike Gilliam, Matt Psalmonds, Chris Pipkin and apprentice Nick Haney, the Electrical Connection donated 50 hours of service upgrading wiring and circuits to support the heat pumps. Joining in the volunteer effort was Farmington-based NECA contractor Meier Electric Co.
“The IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership provided an extraordinary community service to the Farmington Pet Adoption Center,” said Bilhorn. “It was a significant electrical upgrade and we have the peace of mind knowing that the IBEW/NECA team delivered all the installations in accordance with the National Electrical Code.”
The donated electrical services allow Bilhorn to focus on other operational improvements through a year-long $30,000 fundraising campaign. The adoption center is primary funded through donations and its Second Chance Resale Store. To donate to the pet adoption center visit www.farmingtonpet.org.
“No matter what the economic conditions, the need to care for and find homes for abandoned and unwanted pets never ends,” noted Bilhorn. Bilhorn says they often find pets dropped off anonymously at their door. Sometimes it’s a stray that was found or a litter of puppies that a pet owner simply could not take care of. “Things happen in people’s lives – they lose their job, they get older and infirm or become incapacitated in some way – and they simply don’t have the ability to care for their pets. That’s what we’re here for.”
The Electrical Connection has been supporting the Farmington community for more than 25 years. It is best known for its annual donation to the Farmington “Shop with a Cop” program. The partnership has donated more than $65,000 to the holiday giving program since 1993.