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Angelina's Story

Who is Angelina?
How did we get started?
Why are we named The Angelina Foundation? 

The Story Of Angelina

​Angelina was a sweet dog who, by no fault of her own, wound up in a county animal shelter. We don't know why she was found wandering alone in the street. Was she lost and searching for the way back home? Or worse, was she dumped, unwanted? Was anyone looking for Angelina?

Angelina was a friendly girl, not aggressive and very adoptable. She would have made a great companion or family pet. But unfortunately, nobody came forward to claim Angelina, and her hold time at the shelter expired. For reasons we don't quite understand, the decision was made to end her life while numerous avenues for her rescue were available.

Many shelters in the region have committed to becoming "low-kill" by building a reputation for working with volunteers and rescues in the best interest of the animals. It has been demonstrated time and time again that when county or city facilities commit to saving lives, their communities rise up to assist with both monetary and volunteer support. It is a win-win-win situation for ALL, most importantly for the pets, the members of the community and their families.

The death of sweet Angelina has become a call to action to fuel the winds of change. Our vision is to see every county or city shelter become low-kill and rescue-committed. Our vision is to see every animal given the opportunity for a happy and healthy life in a loving home.

Because of the great amount of need in our region, we have expanded our mission to include proactive measures to stop the pet-overpopulation problem before it starts. Our goal is to reach out to members of the community to educate and assist with low-cost spay & neutering programs, pet nutrition assistance and more.

Rest in peace, sweet Angelina. Your death will not be in vain. Your story will be shared to help other animals in need, to eliminate needless euthanizing of healthy animals, to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals through spay/neuter programs, to educate the community and to ensure a healthy animal population throughout our region.

In Memoriam 

Debby Choate, The Angelina Foundation

Co-Founder and President 2014-2020


Debby Choate was a long-time presence in the Southern Illinois animal rescue community. After the death of Angelina, Debby, along with a few other local animal advocates, came together to discuss Angelina's story and the urgent need to take action to prevent further senseless animal deaths. Under her guidance, The Angelina Foundation was born. 

Debby worked tirelessly helping animals day and night. Because of her, literally thousands of animals have been helped by receiving lifesaving treatments, transports to no-kill animal rescues, and adoptions into loving homes. Additionally, her passion was to PREVENT animal overpopulation. Working with local veterinarians, the low-cost vaccination program helped spay or neuter over 700 animals in 2019, and 300 more in 2020 before the onset of the pandemic interrupted the service.

Debby passed away November 14, 2020, but her legacy lives on through those in the rescue community she has inspired to continue their efforts, as well as in each of the animals she has helped through the years.

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