Deborah Bell and Don Kittrell agree on many things, one of them is that divine assistance brought them together.

Deborah Bell and Don Kittrell agree on many things, one of them is that divine assistance brought them together.
Kittrell, the chairman of the Carthage Humane Society Board of Directors, announced that Bell, who moved recently to Webb City from the St. Louis area, will be the new director of the Humane Society's shelter.
Bell replaces Craig Putnam who resigned last month.
“She was looking for something to give her time back to the community,” Kittrell said. “She is an avid animal lover, as we all are, so she felt like this position was something along those lines, so it was divine intervention.I seriously feel that way, it was meant to be.”
Bell said she found out about the Carthage Humane Society and it's need for a director through her daughter who works at the animal hospital at PetSmart in Joplin, where volunteers from Carthage bring animals every Saturday for adoption.
“I really think, some people love this word, some people don't, but it was a God thing,” Bell said. “My daughter knows one of the volunteers who brings them over. They were talking about this position and she said, if you met my mother and what she's done with animals, she's perfect. I contacted Don and said I'm interested in this.”
Kittrell said Dr. Delinda Volskay, owner of County Line Veterinary Clinic in Diamond and a Carthage High School graduate, will be the shelter's veterinarian.
Bell was making her first visit to the shelter on Friday when she spoke to The Carthage Press.
She said she moved to Southwest Missouri in January to be closer to her daughter.
She sold real estate in the St. Louis area after her husband died before moving here. Before that, they lived in Pennsylvania where she and her husband were active with a Humane Society and animal rescue group.
“I was one of the officers who went on abuse calls,” she said. “I could write a book on those experiences. I also had a dog grooming and dog obedience business and kept very busy with that. That led me to pursuing the humane society in Pennsylvania.”
Bell said in Pennsylvania, people knew of her reputation as an animal lover and would dump unwanted pets at her home.
“Where we lived we never knew what was going to be in our fence in the morning,” Bell said. “We didn't live in the country, but people didn't care, they knew we were there. People knew we were part of the Humane Society so they would dump their animals because they knew our heart. I would rehab them in order to be adopted.”
Bell's daughter, Rachel Bell, is the practicing manager at the Banfield Animal Hospital in the PetSmart store in Joplin.
Deborah Bell said she hopes to pursue programs that would provide free veterinary care for a limited time to animals adopted from Humane Societies.
She's also looking at ways to harness the volunteers that have come to work at the shelter since the social media firestorm last month.
Residents posted on Facebook that they saw under-fed and under-weight dogs at the Carthage shelter, prompting outrage from commenters and a crowd of people at a sometimes contentious Humane Society board meeting in September.
A state inspection confirmed the reports of underweight dogs and found other problems. It also suggested ways of dealing with the underweight animals that the shelter staff was unaware they could use, such as housing a small number of dogs, with unlimited amounts of food in a boarding facility temporarily.
Kittrell said the shelter is making other changes since the September controversy, including being more active on social media.
The Humane Society also announced this week that it would expand its hours and be open on Saturdays from noon-3 p.m. starting this Saturday.
Bell said volunteers will be the key to improving conditions and services at the Humane Society in the future.
“If you would like to come volunteer, whether it would be a day, a week, an hour, whatever, please contact Carthage Humane Society right away,” Bell said. “We'd love to have them, a lot of times people need that invitation to volunteer. We need you.”