Legacy of Fayetteville shelter owner lives on through current employees

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Friends of Cumberland County have been helping animals in the area for years and during the pandemic, they knew they would have to step up efforts to help with owners who faced financial hardships and job losses.

Unemployment and financial hardship cause some to surrender their animals to the Cumberland County Animal Control. So, the group partnered with the shelter to hold food giveaways and other services to help keep pets in a safe loving home.

All of this was the passion and love of passed on from founder Shelly Bryant who gathered friends and family to help her mission.

Tragedy would strike the group when Bryant unexpectedly passed away in May 2020 leaving behind a hole that couldn't be filled.

Deborah Knowles is a volunteer with Friends of Cumberland County AnimalS and wasn't sure that they could continue without Bryant.

"When we lost her... I wasn't sure I was going to be able to continue," Knowles told ABC11. "I'm going to be honest with you, the fact that's what she would have wanted is really what got me through the whole thing."

It was that passion Bryant left behind that inspired the group to continue and throughout the year they helped stop pet surrenders and get more pets adopted through the shelter and even helping some owners with medical expenses.

The Group feels Bryant is still with them every step of the way and they believe they are making a bigger difference because of that.
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