County Pet Panel Moves on Robbins Initiative
A tall sign facing Middleton Street across from Town Hall now advises residents and visitors that Robbins is a pet responsibility community.
Robbins Fire Chief Jarius Garner and his crew unveiled the sign Wednesday night during a meeting of the Moore County Citizens Pet Responsibility Committee.
Bearing statistics showing the number of animals spayed and neutered in recent months, the sign marks the community's decision to serve as a pilot project of the committee established by the Board of Commissioners to find solutions to the county's pet overpopulation problem.
The committee decided to introduce a spay/neuter initiative by starting with one community before moving throughout the county. Robbins leaders indicated interest in serving as the pilot program.
The result has been monthly spay/neuter clinics along with other plans to curb the explosion of unwanted pets being abandoned and frequently euthanized be-cause facilities are not available to care for them, despite the efforts of about half a dozen animal protection nonprofits.
Next on the agenda is the Robbins Pet Responsibility Celebration Day to be held April 14 in conjunction with the music/arts and crafts festival in downtown Robbins.
Committee members applauded the town's handiwork when the sign was unveiled. Then they returned to the Town Hall lobby to delve into details for the April 14 celebration.
Pam Partis, who is directing the project, reviewed each member's duties in connection with the event, which is to feature demonstrations, lectures and a rabies clinic. The rabies shots will cost $5. Information about adoptions will also be available.
The committee is working on plans to demonstrate a variety of services provided by dogs, such as working dogs that herd sheep, sniff out illegal drugs and locate missing people, provide security and guide the blind and the hearing-impaired.
"This is something to show that dogs are not just something that lies around on the floor to be petted," Partis said. "They have other talents and are responsible for a lot of services."
Representatives of the Kennel Club indicated that a sheepherding demonstration may be possible but said that a large area must be available if that is done.
Beverly Lashley, the committee's education liaison, will staff a booth on education issues. She is coordinating a curriculum to teach students how to care for pets.
Luther, the popular therapy dog, is also expected to make an appearance.
In other business Wednesday night, the committee learned that 27 spay/neuter procedures were carried out at the Jan. 9 clinic held at the Davis Community Center near Robbins. This was the third clinic held at Davis and the total is now at 76 procedures.
Two clinics are scheduled next month: Feb. 13 and 22. Committee Chairwoman Angela Zumwalt reported that calls continue to come into the spay/neuter hotline for Robbins area residents. The number is 693-1228 for those wishing to place their pets on the waiting list for reduced-cost spaying or neutering of cats and dogs.
In the past the county Animal Control staff has been providing $5 rabies shots during these clinics.
Monthly clinics are planned through late spring, when the Companion Animal Clinic is expected to begin operations. In the meantime, the Moore County Board of Commissioners has appropriated funds to help finance the clinics.
Contributions from individuals and nonprofits are also helping with the cost, and service is being provided at lower cost to pet owners who cannot afford to pay the entire fee charged by veterinarians.
A veterinarian is helping with the campaign and so far has provided spay/neuter service to 109 pets in the Robbins area.
Zumwalt and Partis transported nine puppies to Mooresville on Jan. 8 for shipment to the North Shore Animal League in Long Island, N.Y., a nonprofit that provides adoption services in that area. Unlike the situation in Moore County and most North Carolina counties, that area does not have a surplus of dogs and cats.
For the time being, however, the league is accepting only puppies. The next transport, six puppies this time, will be made on Feb. 5.
Zumwalt reported that some Animal Advocates members have actually offered to drive all the way to Long Island in order to deliver older dogs for league placement. Committee members have learned that the league is asking for puppies because of space issues stemming from the transportation distance.
In February, the committee is planning a spay/neuter program for feral cat colonies. Maureen Burke-Horansky and Barb Shepard of Animal Advocates of Moore County are directing this ambitious effort, which involves capturing the cats and maintaining them at a secure facility until a mobile veterinary unit can carry out the procedures. Then the cats must be returned to the locations where they were captured.
Moore Humane is sponsoring the first spay/neuter day for feral cats.
The procedures will be handled by the N.C. Medical Foundation (College of Veterinary Medicine in Raleigh) under the guidance of Dr. Kelli Ferris.
Horansky said she may bring a humane trap to the Pet Celebration in Robbins to show the public that there is a humane way to trap animals without hurting them.
Al Carter, director of the Moore County Animal Center and a committee member, reported that recently extended hours at the animal shelter have resulted in more adoption traffic.
Robbins Town Commissioner Anna Derr sat in on the meeting and is helping to coordinate arrangements for Pet Celebration Day.
Zumwalt said County Commissioner Jimmy Melton is the new county board liaison with the committee and plans to attend the next meeting. He succeeds former Commissioner Michael Holden, who came up with the idea of appointing a committee to work on pet overpopulation issues.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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