Protestors raise concerns about animal control plan
— 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.