Look­ing for friends

Out­go­ing an­i­mal con­trol provider gets com­mu­nity sup­port

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— Of­fi­cials with A Buddy for Life, the county’s an­i­mal con­trol provider un­til June 30, say the com­mu­nity has come to their aid to help them find per­ma­nent or fos­ter homes for their dogs and cats be­fore Ce­cil County gov­ern­ment takes over July 1.

ELK­TON

With three months to go un­til the tran­si­tion is fi­nal, A Buddy for Life of­fi­cials are hope­ful the an­i­mals find homes.

“We’ve had a tremen­dous out­pour­ing from peo­ple,” A Buddy for Life co-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Jenn Cal­la­han said last week.

Rose Dou­glas, a staff mem­ber of A Buddy for Life, agreed with Cal­la­han.

“The day af­ter we posted our needs on a so­cial me­dia site, we had peo­ple lined up at our door wait­ing for us to open,” she said, adding, “That

has hap­pened at least one other day, as well.”

That ur­gent plea posted March 21 in­cluded this state­ment: “While it pains us im­mensely to say this, any an­i­mal that has not found a home or res­cue/shel­ter place­ment on June 30 will be hu­manely eu­th­a­nized, as there will be no place for that an­i­mal to go.”

Un­der the cur­rent an­i­mal con­trol con­tract, all an­i­mals be­come the prop­erty of A Buddy for Life, which op­er­ates its own pri­vate res­cue op­er­a­tion, af­ter the county’s five-day hold pe­riod ex­pires.

A Buddy for Life, lo­cated at 377 Hut­ton Road, had ap­prox­i­mately 80 dogs and 40 cats at the time of the post­ing. Last Wed­nes­day, Cal­la­han said the num­ber of dogs in the shel­ter was 54 and cats still near 40.

“They come and go,” she said, not­ing they are still un­der con­tract to pick up strays and ac­cept drop-offs un­til June 30, al­though the num­bers are di­min­ish­ing.

A res­cue op­er­a­tion from Kent County took three more dogs Wed­nes­day, and an­other was get­ting adopted. A tour of the “cat room” on the sec­ond floor of the fa­cil­ity Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon found prob­a­bly less than 10 cats.

Be­cause of the daily fluc­tu­a­tions, Cal­la­han es­ti­mated they av­er­age be­tween 50 to 80 dogs on any given day.

“We’ve had quite a few adop­tions and a lot of help from other shel­ters,” Cal­la­han said, adding that she still wor­ries. “We’re right smack in the mid­dle of kit­ten sea­son. So any help we can get, we’ll take.”

A Buddy for Life has an ag­gres­sive meet-and-greet sched­ule of events line up be­tween now and May. Those events are posted on A Buddy for Life’s web­site, along with their hours of opera- tion, which in­clude Tues­day through Satur­day.

“I want all an­i­mals out alive. Any­thing else would break our hearts,” Cal­la­han said.

Some of their events will be at Petco in North East Plaza, Vixen Hall in Ox­ford, Pa., Pet Valu in Ris­ing Sun, a 5K run at Glas­gow Park on April 23, Hack’s Point Fire Co. Car Show, Ch­e­sa­peake City VFW SoupBakeYard Sale and PetS­mart in Ne­wark, Del.

In the near fu­ture, A Buddy for Life will be of­fer­ing spe­cial re­duced prices for adop­tion, Cal­la­han said.

Dou­glas, who is one of the long­est work­ing em­ploy­ees at A Buddy for Life, said they’ve re­ceived great sup­port from other res­cues — some nearby and oth­ers as far away as New Eng­land.

“So­cial me­dia re­ally spreads the mes­sage quickly,” she said.

She’s op­ti­mistic they will all get homes. “We have a huge mo­men­tum go­ing,” Dou­glas said.

Mean­while, some crit­ics of county gov­ern­ment have taken to so­cial me­dia to al­lege the county will be­come a high-kill fa­cil­ity af­ter it takes over op­er­a­tion July 1 and that all an­i­mals in A Buddy for Life’s care on June 30 will be eu­th­a­nized.

“I was alarmed when I read this,” said Alice Brown, a re­tired teacher and res­i­dent of North East.

“I called the county ex­ec­u­tive’s of­fice to find out if this was true,” she said, not­ing she ul­ti­mately got a re­sponse from sev­eral county of­fi­cials that eased her wor­ries. “My ini­tial re­ac­tion was to stir things up. But now I hope the word gets out to help these an­i­mals.”

How­ever, Brown still has con­cerns there is a pos­si­bil­ity that some an­i­mals will have to be eu­th­a­nized, but she also has hope they will find homes.

Some county crit­ics or­ga­nized a protest at the county ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing at 4 p.m. Tues­day to ex­press their con­cerns about the fu­ture of an­i­mal con­trol.

Mean­while, County Ex­ecu- tive Tari Moore says the county has no in­ten­tion of be­ing a high-kill fa­cil­ity.

“In all fair­ness to the skep­tics out there, I un­der­stand their con­cern,” she said Fri­day. “But we have a plan and we won’t kill an­i­mals on day six. The only way an an­i­mal will be eu­th­a­nized at all, is if it is de­ter­mined to be not adopt­able by our team of pro­fes­sion­als.”

Among the goals of the county’s an­i­mal care and con­trol ser­vice, ac­cord­ing to Moore, will be to reunite an­i­mals with their own­ers, get an­i­mals adopted or res­cued and im­prove an an­i­mal’s be­hav­ior, when pos­si­ble, to help it be­come adopt­able.

“This will only work if we have pub­lic sup­port,” she said.

Crit­i­cal to a suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion is hir­ing a top notch man­ager with ex­cel­lent com­mu­nity out­reach skills for the an­i­mal shel­ter, Moore said. The county has been ad­ver­tis­ing for the po­si­tion for a few weeks and has al­ready re­ceived about a dozen ap­pli­ca­tions for the job that will pay any­where from $49,000 to $77,000 a year.

“We want to in­ter­view and hire as soon as we can,” Moore said. The ap­pli­ca­tion dead­line was Tues­day.

Eight to­tal po­si­tions are pro­posed in the fis­cal year county bud­get for an­i­mal care and con­trol.

“We will be very trans­par­ent and work col­lab­o­ra­tively with the com­mu­nity,” she said. “I see un­lim­ited pos­si­bil­i­ties.”

Mean­while, Cal­la­han said A Buddy for Life will go back to its roots as a small, fos­ter­based res­cue op­er­a­tion for an­i­mals when July 1 ar­rives.

“We’ve ap­plied for a $49,000 grant through the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture to help us do a spay and neuter pro­gram for cats and dogs in tar­geted neigh­bor­hoods such as Hollingsworth Manor, Wind­ing Brook and Lake­side Mo­bile Home Park,” Cal­la­han said.

The county and A Buddy for Life will con­tinue to meet dur­ing the next three months to work on a tran­si­tion plan for a smooth trans­fer of the op­er­a­tion.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

Rose Dou­glas, an em­ployee of A Buddy for Life, holds up Max, a 10-year-old Jack Rus­sell look­ing for a home.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JA­COB OWENS

A small group of protestors voiced con­cerns over County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore’s county-run plan for an­i­mal care and con­trol dur­ing a demon­stra­tion out­side the County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing on Tues­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.