In short, we save lives! HPR rescues, provides transport, local placement, and assists other non-profit and public safety agencies involved in education and the prevention of animal cruelty within one of the poorest regions in the South-Central United States. As an IRS and state approved non-profit entity, we provide animals (and their caregivers) opportunities to thrive in a new environment. To date, we have transported and saved nearly 12,000 animals from euthanasia.
How it Works –
HPR coordinates the collection of candidate animals from shelters and designated foster homes throughout the region. It coordinates care and veterinary screening of the transport candidate animals through both a quarantine and socialization program and provides volunteers drivers to move animals to collaborating agencies utilizing specially designed transport vehicles for the cross-country leg of the trip. While the program employs animal caregivers, all individuals participating in HPR’s leadership are volunteers and donors.
Not only are the individual pets (and families that adopt them) blessed, but transport also has a very positive impact on our own Southern communities. By transporting our overabundance of pets — space is opened in area shelters so more homeless pets can be helped. It also increases placement options so less “desperation dumping” occurs. And, as a result, less pets die of starvation and neglect. There is less disease among pets because fewer pets are being kept in poor conditions and fewer homeless pets are raising litters in our community.
In December 2012, the first transport of 47 local dogs occurred in collaboration with the ASPCA and it seemed like a miracle to be able to save so many dogs at once. We worked to develop a regional program and in the early years, Woodland Plantation was used as an overflow foster site for hundreds of dogs and cats.
Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue was originally formed as a non-profit to rescue starving and abused horses and support the Natchez Transport Program. Early in 2019, HPR became the host organization and Natchez Transport, and Miss-Lou Rescue became part of HPR. All operations were moved to Woodland Plantation, a 230-acre plantation on the National Registry of Historic Places just outside Natchez. The Fitch family is honored to provide the use of Woodland to HPR for a $1 per year lease. One by one, the buildings on the Woodland property that had been vacant for a generation have been restored and brought into service for the transport program, including a recently renovated isolation and veterinary care building. Now there are five renovated buildings that house cats and dogs in all life stages in a humane manner and Woodland/HPR has been the temporary home for over 1800 pets awaiting transport this year. Rescued horses often take up to a year to be rehabilitated to become healthy enough for local adoption. The horses and other animals enjoy the run of the pastures at Woodland.
HPR is a 501(c)3 non-profit entity and is a state-chartered charity in both Mississippi and Louisiana. Our Board includes Kathy Fitch, a retired nurse anesthetist at University Medical Center Children’s Hospital (Mississippi) who serves a President. Other directors include Susan Weed, employed at Delta Bank (Louisiana), Bobby Meason, a Natchez (Mississippi) business owner, and Daye Dearing, Director of Women’s Business Center, Alcorn State University. Jay Fitch, PhD, a public safety/EMS consultant, serves as Treasurer. Our veterinarian is Dr. Tracey Breithaupt Peltier, DMV.
Current Challenges and Opportunities –
We are experiencing increased costs for fuel food, housing and personnel.
Our local volunteers and donors have been extraordinarily generous giving their time and financial resources. Our committed caregivers are simply amazing as they socialize animals, feed and clean the facilities each day. There has been an expanding need to transport animals longer distances to find appropriate placements.
Our hopes for the future include expanding services in surrounding counties and becoming more involved in education and supporting local spay/neuter programs.
The blue van is used for longer distances and was donated by the ASPCA and NACHS. The white donated units support local transports. All have over 100,000 miles. Occasionally, our animals get to fly. For this transport to New Jersey from the McComb, MS airport, the aircraft was provided by the Greater Good Organization.
The following link provides additional pictures and the 2019 blessing for the program-
Also find up to date information and “Happy Tails” adoption stories on our Facebook page at -