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Local rodent and small animal sanctuary, the Pipsqueakery, expands to hold more animals



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The Pipsqueakery is a Bloomington animal shelter that rehabilitates small animals and rodents such as rabbits, gerbils and hamsters. The Pipsqueakery is building a large expansion to the shelter to house more animals. Courtesy Photo

The Pipsqueakery, a Bloomington animal shelter that rehabilitates small animals and rodents is building an expansion to house hundreds more animals.

The Pipsqueakery announced Jan. 10 its plans to build a formal building for its animals. The new facility, located on a 15 acre-property on the south side of Monroe County on Rockport Road, will have more room for animals.

The current facility only has room to house 100 to 150 animals, but the new location is expected to hold 500 to 700, said co-owner Alex Hernly. The numbers depend on the species of animals being housed as they each have their own needs . She said the shelter has to turn away about two dozen animals a week because their current location does not have space to keep animals not suffering from lifelong illnesses. A few “foster homes” help by hosting animals that don’t need constant care.

“It has taken off more than I ever imagined,” Hernly said.

Hernly said after her and her husband's hamster Pipsqueak died of an illness a few months after they adopted him, they realized Bloomington didn’t have a rescue center for small animals.

Julie Gray is a volunteer at the Pipsqueakery and has been a foster parent to four rabbits. She said rabbits and rodents are neglected in the world of rescue animals.

“Most people think of cats and dogs, and they don’t so much think of these smaller animals,” she said.

The Pipsqueakery sanctuary has operated out of the basement of Hernly and her husband Jason Minsterketter’s home since 2014.

"It’s a hobby that sort of took over our lives,” Minsterketter said.

More space will also allow the shelter to bring in volunteers from the community and educational events.

“We try to provide access to education and tools to help people with their pet problems,” Minsterketter said.

Some of the animals at the Pipsqueakery return to animal adoption centers after they have been healed, though the majority will need to be in a sanctuary for the rest of their lives, Hernly said.

She said in 2019 the Pipsqueakery brought in $11,866.96 soley from people who donated $10 or less.

The veterinarian appointments, surgeries and medications are expensive, but possible with the Pipsqueakery Etsy store and donations from supporters on social media, Hernly said.

In the Etsy store they sell merchandise such as T-shirts, mugs and stickers from Winnie Kan, an artist based in Indonesia.

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