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How Hallie Hill animal sanctuary stores food for hundreds of furry residents

'Inside the box' with Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary


    Down a modest gravel road less than an hour from Charleston, South Carolina, you will find Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary, a loving and compassionate home for all creatures great and small. Well, almost all...

    Nestled under live oaks and Spanish Moss, the non-profit sanctuary cares for, houses and rehabilitates animals that have been neglected, abused or seeking end-of-life serenity. We recently had the pleasure of visiting with Jennifer Middleton, Hallie Hill’s executive director, and some of her 200 furry residents to discuss her former life as a teacher, the group’s recent addition to the farm (a 20-foot decommissioned container) … and rats.

    More on the rats in a minute. As for Hallie Hill, founded by Helen Bradham nearly thirty years ago the non-profit shelter sits on 30 acres of land. Well-constructed canine cabins with large dog runs, cat shelters and kitty compounds, and now a 20-foot Eveon container are strategically placed throughout the property.

    Hallie Hill welcomes pets and strays in all life stages and works closely with regional rescue shelters to take in dogs and cats that might not get adopted due to age or behavioral issues. While roughly 80 percent of Hallie Hill animals will call the sanctuary their forever home due to various reasons, 20 percent are up for adoption by appointment.

    “If you are looking for a ‘perfect’ pet, we’re probably not for you,” Middleton says, “but if you believe in second chances, we welcome visitors and those interested in adoption. We can’t change an animal’s past at Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary, but we can rewrite their future.”

    In 2022, 407 dogs and cats received food, shelter, and medical care at the sanctuary; 142 animals got adopted. That same year Hallie Hill went through 43,800 pounds of dog food (roughly 190 bags a month) and 3,650 pounds of cat food.

    While it appeared, non-rodent misfits were always welcome on the farm, thanks to the impressive amount of pet food in the barn, staff had been battling a rodent issue. Rats and country mice were eating through wood, barn walls, and plastic bins and bags to get to the expensive kibble and medicine.

    Exhausted by the problem, Hallie Hill’s staff went online to search for a potential solution and were introduced to Eveon Containers. They purchased a used shipping container and hoped it would be the answer to their problem.

    “We had tried everything within humanitarian reasons to get the rats out of the barn. We read that Eveon Containers were guaranteed to be windproof and watertight, and thought we would see if they were rodent-proof, too.” Middleton added.

    “The driver placed the container away from the barn,” says Middleton, “and we painted it black to not overshadow the natural beauty of the area. Between the cats that reside here and the container’s steel casing, we are happy to report the pet food is finally secure, dry, and safe, which saves Hallie Hill money & frustration.”

    Supported by the in-kind donations of animal lovers, Hallie Hill’s numerous volunteers care for, rehabilitate, and socialize animals that have suffered trauma and isolation. As the matriarch of the farm, Jennifer Middleton is an angel to hundreds. But the mother of two admits 10-hour days at Hallie Hill can make work-life balance a challenge. Still, this is her passion. A former math and science teacher (and Charleston County 2006-07 Teacher of The Year), Middleton is relieved to report, “We have resolved our rodent issue with Eveon!”

    Like its decommissioned Eveon Container, Hallie Hill Sanctuary is not flashy. While both show wear and tear from a life of service, have stories to tell, and are designed to be highly functional, both organizations believe in extending life, and second chances and serving the community. We are proud to report that an Eveon container is now permanently retired from life at sea and serving another purpose in the sanctuary. Whereas it once moved items across the ocean, the now land-locked decommissioned box is solving a common farm problem.

    And that allows Middleton and the sanctuary board to focus on other things. Their priority now is to expand the sanctuary to include a large-animal farm to address the needs of horses, goats, pigs, and cows. If you are interested in learning more, adopting a cat or dog, or donating to Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary, please visit

    If you are looking for a windproof and watertight solution to your rodent problem or to give a decommissioned container a second life on land visit