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Our Story

The Friends of Jefferson Animals (FOJA) was founded by a group of volunteers in early 2019 following the abrupt, necessary closure of the Marion County animal shelter in December of the previous year.  In the continuing absence of a local shelter and formal animal control, rescue efforts for the area now rest solely upon the shoulders of these volunteers.

The year 2022 has provided many additional challenges for the Friends of Jefferson Animals that have continued into 2023.  Not only have rising costs directly impacted our incurred expenses for foods, vaccinations, and medical care, they appear to have indirectly impacted the rescue by way of reduction in the number of homes able to foster, as well as in the rise in number of animals being abandoned. 

Daily, the number of phone calls, text messages, and emails grow, requesting assistance for dogs dumped on or near private property in both the city and county and we remain diligent in addressing as many of those as possible.  But the increased burden, considering the limitations in resources, can grow overwhelming.

It is our foremost desire to assist the city of Jefferson with managing animal control issues that face us all.  As new challenges have arisen this year, it has become more complex to adequately support the growing numbers of animals until cleared for transport… especially those weighing more than 30 pounds.  As adoption centers and rescues have no timelines within which to accept the larger animals, many of our fosters have now been saddled with “permanent fosters” and can no longer take new ones.

Of continued importance to mention, as well, without a centralized location that is easily accessed to provide routine care, we and our volunteers cover large areas, at personal expense, to ensure all rescued/fostered animal needs are met.

Anything you can do to provide and improve upon this ongoing, valuable service to our community is greatly appreciated. 


A longstanding business owner in Jefferson, Jimmy established the Lonesome Dove Safari in 2018.  As a native of Jefferson who is dedicated to promoting rescue efforts throughout Marion County, he is one of the original founders of FOJA and currently serves on its board. 


Sharon is an active business owner in Jefferson who has always had a heart for the welfare of cats and dogs.  She has been with FOJA from its inception and serves on its board.  Additionally, she oversees cat rescue, manages multiple cat colonies, and promotes the TNR program for our community.  


Having returned home to Jefferson as an educator who now manages the Lonesome Dove Safari, Dina is an advocate for animal welfare who became involved with FOJA at its beginning.  She oversees dog rescue, nurture, and relocation.  Her son, Cooper, is an amazing rescuer, as well... and is vital to FOJA's efforts.  



Jefferson, Texas 75657



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