Protestors raise con­cerns about an­i­mal con­trol plan

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JA­COB OWENS & CH­ERYL MATTIX

ELK­TON

jowens@ce­cil­whig.com

— A group of about a dozen peo­ple voiced con­cerns about County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore’s plan for a county-run an­i­mal care and con­trol op­er­a­tion dur­ing a demon­stra­tion out­side the County Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing on Tues­day.

Or­ga­nized on so­cial me­dia, the dis­play was meant to raise at­ten­tion to Moore’s pro­posal to re­place the county’s cur­rent con­tracted an­i­mal care and con­trol op­er­a­tor, A Buddy for Life, with a county-run op­er­a­tion that may have fewer shel­ter spa­ces for an­i­mals. That fact cou­pled with the ad­mis­sion from the county ex­ec­u­tive that the shel­ter will have a “no-kill phi­los­o­phy,” but won’t be a hard­line “no-kill” shel­ter has led to some con­cerns.

Kyle Ul­rich and his wife, Jill Sher­rard, were two of the most vo­cal mem­bers of the demon­stra­tion that be­gan shortly be­fore the evening’s Ce­cil County Coun­cil meet­ing. Both he and his wife have vol­un­teered with A Buddy for Life for two years af­ter com­ing into con­tact with the or­ga­ni­za­tion af­ter turn­ing over an aban­doned dog.

“The county won’t have a fa­cil­ity to be able to hold more than 20 or 30 dogs, and (A Buddy for Life) has had up to 150 dogs in its shel­ter at one time,” he said. “The county’s so­lu­tion just isn’t fea­si­ble for the scope of the prob­lem.”

Ul­rich said the best feel­ing that the Per­ryville cou­ple gets is see­ing a dog they have helped fos­ter and so­cial­ize get a home. The pit bull that they found orig­i­nally, Molly, was given a home three months af­ter they found her. They con­tinue to help in A Buddy for Life’s adop­tion events on the week­end, and Sher­rard, who is a stay-at-home mother, is able to vol­un­teer sev­eral hours a day to help care for dogs and cats in need of a home. The cou­ple has even formed a non­profit to aid adopt­able an­i­mals in danger of eu­thana­sia by find­ing fos­ter homes or place­ments for them.

Ul­rich said he un­der­stands that no shel­ter can be 100 per­cent “no-kill” as some an­i­mals are just too sick or ag­gres­sive for adop­tion, but he wants to see the county part­ner with a non­profit or neigh­bor­ing ju­ris­dic­tion in or­der to shel­ter all adopt­able an­i­mals un­til they can find a home.

The gath­er­ing drew sev­eral in­ter­ested par­ties, in­clud­ing Belinda Reynolds, a li­censed vet­eri­nar­ian tech from Ch­e­sa­peake City.

“The county should def­i­nitely op­er­ate as a no-kill shel­ter,” she said. “There are so many other county op­er­a­tions and pro­grams that are no-kill, such as Har­ford County.”

Reynolds said she thinks the county will face some big chal­lenges.

“They’ll have to work hard and they should not try to mi­cro­man­age the pro­gram,” she said.

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