Devoted Pet Lover Leaves $3 Million To Start Animal Shelter

A departed man’s will details his wish to establish an animal shelter on a farm to save animals, train dogs and rehabilitate unwanted pets.

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The man's will details plans to use $3 million in assets for a new shelter based on the Animal Welfare League of Clark County, above. Via  Springfield News-Sun/Facebook
The man's will details plans to use $3 million in assets for a new shelter based on the Animal Welfare League of Clark County, above. Via Springfield News-Sun/Facebook

A wealthy man without family nearby had to decide how to allocate his assets after death, and he chose to donate it to animals.

David Robert Wetzell of Urbana, Ohio, lived his life surrounded by dogs and cats before dying at age 80 last December, and now his legacy will help homeless pets, the Springfield News-Sun reports. The man, who went by Bob, left a will with specific instructions on how to establish a new animal sanctuary using the money from his liquidated assets, estimated at $3 million.

The executor of his estate, Ronald Tomkins, told the news outlet of Wetzell’s plans and said he was a devoted pet owner and animal lover.

“He thought about it and that was something that was greatly on his mind,” Tomkins said.

The goals Wetzell outlined are to create a place to preserve animals, train dogs, rehabilitate unwanted animals and also house a pet cemetery. The will details how to establish the shelter, starting with selling the assets, securing a farm in Champaign County and modeling the establishment after the Animal Welfare League of Clark County.


The model for Wetzell’s new sanctuary, the Animal Welfare League of Clark County, is a non-profit no-kill shelter that houses cats and dogs. Via Animal Welfare League of Clark County, Ohio/Facebook

Libby Adams runs the Animal Welfare League with her husband, Ray. She said she knew a dream of Wetzell’s was to start a shelter like theirs.

“Bob was very fond and proud of our organization,” Adams told the Springfield News-Sun. “He would come down on occasion. He was a member of our league for as long as I can remember and supported us.”

The pets Wetzell left behind include a dog, six cats, seven chickens and a 20-year-old budgie. Tomkins said he kept the dog, Blondie, and found homes for the other animals.

Tomkins has begun the process of putting together a board of five members and he will remain through the legal process of establishing the sanctuary as a non-profit organization. Once the board is constituted, they will begin deciding how to best allocate the money and whether to partner with other animal groups.

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  • What a thoughtful thing to do for animals in need. God rest his sweet soul in HIS PEACE! And thanks for the animal lovers who are making his dream come true! God bless you!

    Lori February 26, 2016 10:51 am Reply
  • It is my hope that a “board” will spend at least 80% of that $3,000,000 on the welfare of the animals.

    Strven February 26, 2016 7:11 pm Reply
  • Guys like this need to stand for election…. while they’re alive, I mean. This guy’s an angel and a saint.

    Mark McK February 27, 2016 11:56 am Reply
  • Thats what i call a great man. If only more people did this.

    Lorraine March 14, 2016 8:44 am Reply
  • On other sites and articles people criticized him for not donating to a more established animal shelter. I too feel Bob is a great man and an angel. His money will do so much good for so many animals. I trust that the board will do the right thing and I do not think we should expect the worst of people – do not pre-judge. Bless you Bob for your kindness and generosity and big heart.

    Erica March 21, 2016 4:38 pm Reply
  • the best Uncle ever!!

    Omar Wetzell May 18, 2016 9:52 pm Reply

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