Adoptions, Fosters Wanted at Kimmy’s Safe Haven Pet Rescue

Local Woman’s Calling in Memory of Brother
By PAT JOHNSON | May 24, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson Kimmy Brown (right) and volunteer Trisha Logue feed weeks-old kittens that were rescued from a puddle near Radio Road, Little Egg Harbor Township.

Kim Brown and Brooke Mandarakas run Kimmy’s Safe Haven Pet Rescue out of Brown’s home in Little Egg Harbor. Since becoming a nonprofit in October, they have adopted-out “countless” cats and kittens and dogs, said Brown on Monday. It’s a calling for Brown, who lost her brother last year as a result of a mental illness.

“He was sick and didn’t have the voice to tell us; he couldn’t tell us, and he took his own life,” she said. “That made me want to go out and help animals who don’t have a voice.

“I had been doing rescue work for three years but that made me want to go out on my own. I want to save every one, I want to help every one.”

Brown works from sun-up to sundown on her rescue, with the support of her husband, Shane Brown, who owns his own business, Chimney Medics. “He’s my rock. He helps emotionally and financially – we pay for things (for animal rescue) out of our own pocket. We recently redid the basement for the rescue, and that cost us $10,000. Then there’s food and kitty litter, veterinarian bills – it all adds up. We are using our retirement fund.”

Another positive is her nonprofit partner, Mandarakas, who helps in between her work as a school bus driver; and volunteer Trisha Logue, who is at the house from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day.

Brown’s daughter, Angela, is like an angel at the rescue, and has started a Wildcats Rescue Club at Pinelands Regional High School.

“She helps me every single day.”

Brown has also started a club at Frog Pond Elementary School, named CAPE (Children Advocating for Pawsitive Education). On a recent Saturday, they went on a trip to the Cape May Zoo to help raise awareness of the endangered cotton-topped tamarins. The Cape May Zoo has a Species Survival Program in which they raise endangered species from around the world.

“The CAPE Club is the first after-school club at Frog Pond, and the principal is behind us 100 percent,” said Brown. “We have 26 children in the club, and a waiting list. Third-grade teacher Mrs. Mandra is the school’s facilitator for the club.”

Both clubs help with fundraising by holding car washes.

On Monday, Brown, Mandarakas and Logue were busy feeding three kittens from bottles. The kittens were from a feral cat that the rescue has been trying to trap so she can be spayed. Spaying or neutering feral cats is a big part of the rescue’s efforts. They trap, complete the birth control procedure and release the cats back to maintained cat colonies.

The female cat had moved her kittens into a low-laying area that became a puddle during the recent heavy rain. “We got a call and went out and got them. I had the one sickly cat in my room all night so I could tend to her. I was really low because I thought we would lose her. But then in the morning, she came bounding after me. So that raised my spirits!”

In the basement cat room, about 20 cats and kittens were surprisingly calm and collected. Each cat-tower was full, as well as a cat tunnel and various cat beds.

Two cages were also in use: one held a mother who had two kittens of her own and was also feeding three abandoned kittens. The other cage held Mad Max, a tomcat who had been in a bad fight out in the wild and was now healing from his trip to the vet.

Walking around the room was Lickety Split, a cat that had been hit by a car on Twin Lakes Boulevard in Little Egg Harbor. He had suffered for two days with a broken jaw and other injuries until he was found and rescued.

Lickety Split was the focus of the appearance of the Wildcats Rescue Club and the CAPE Club at a township municipal meeting May 11 to ask for laws that require drivers to stop and notify police or a humane society if they hit a domestic animal. The driver that hit Lickety Split did not stop, although thankfully, there were people watching and knew to search for the injured animal. Later in surgery, the cat had his jaw wired together and a bolt placed in his head. This was a $600 veterinarian bill that Kimmy’s Safe Haven paid.

“He’s doing well and I think I have someone who will adopt him,” said Brown.

When people come to adopt a cat, she suggests that they wait in the room until the cat decides to choose them. One of the problems all rescue programs face is that people prefer kittens, not adult cats. Yet often the adult cats are already trained and well behaved from loving homes, such as those given up by owners who had to move to a rental property, or by elderly people going into assisted living or nursing homes.

“We really need fosters right now. This time of year is always so busy with cats and kittens coming in.”

Kimmy’s Safe Haven will be holding a fundraiser and awareness event at Naples Pizza in the Acme Plaza, Route 9 in West Tuckerton, on Sunday, May 28 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Stop by and ask questions, meet the dogs and cats. On June 4, the rescue will be at the Doggie Derby in Forked River, a huge event for dog and cat lovers, with vendors catering to the crowd.

On June 16, they are hosting a fundraising event at Calloway’s Restaurant, Route 9 in Eagleswood. Pizza, wings and beverages are available from 7 to 10 p.m. for a $20 ticket ($15 for children).

“We’ll have our shirts for sale and magnets, and we’ll have door prizes,” said Brown.

Just now, the rescue is trying to raise money to bring a dog from Turkey named Sky to the shelter. A gofundme website page is set up. “The dog was tortured, hung by the neck and his ears were cut off,” said Brown. “We have $290, and we need about $500 more,” said Brown.

The Stop the Abuse, Save Sky page is “Anything you donate is tax deductible.”

Another gofundme page is to help pay for the cat rescue sanctuary (gofundme.com2nwk35bg).

The rescue is also trying to recover the stolen igloos and pet shelters they had purchased for an established cat colony on Osborn Island. “We worked so hard on the property, cleaned out the poison ivy and got chiggers. And then someone came and threw away our supplies.”

Another blow was a letter to the editor calling the rescue a cult. These types of negative things temporarily take the wind out of their sails, but do not deter them from their mission to help forgotten animals.

“The community knows what we are doing and they approve,” said Brown. “We are teaching children to be caring and kind and responsible. We have so many people to work with in the rescue community and we all reach out and try to help. I don’t have time for the negative.”

To volunteer or to foster a dog or cat, call Kimmy’s Safe Haven, 609-713-4278 or go to the Facebook page.


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