Pet Committee's Efforts Paying Off
Moore County's "pet panel" is making progress toward bringing the county's pet overpopulation problem under control.
At a Wednesday night meeting in Carthage, the committee -- formally named the Moore County Citizens' Pet Responsibility Committee -- learned details of the Pet Celebration to be staged in conjunction with the Arts and Crafts Festival in Robbins on April 14.
Committee members also learned that 234 spay/neuter procedures have been carried out under the auspices of the committee and related groups. This program is conducted monthly at Davis Community Center near Robbins.
Those procedures mean that an estimated 7,725 puppies and kittens will not be born, probably to die, within the next three years, according to Angela Zumwalt, committee chairwoman.
A mobile unit visits the center each month to provide lower-cost service for residents who are unable to pay the regular cost of having their pets spayed or neutered. The next session is planned April 17, and interested pet owners may call the Robbins hotline to place pets on the waiting list. That number is 693-1228.
Zumwalt also reported that the third puppy transport took place in March, bringing the total number of puppies to 21. In cooperation with the Moore County Animal Center, the committee has arranged for puppies to be transported from North Carolina to a nonprofit program in Long Island, N.Y., an area with a shortage of adoptable pets.
The Moore County Kennel Club has assumed responsibility for transportation duties between the animal shelter and Mooresville, where the New York group accepts the puppies for transport to Long Island. Ed Dalton and Al Carter, committee members, are coordinating this effort.
For the time being, there is a limit on the number and variety of puppies accepted by the Long Island group. The puppies must have shots and be disease-free before the league will accept them, which is the reason the pups must be provided through the Animal Center.
Celebration Day Planned
Pam Partis reviewed final plans for the Pet Responsibility Celebration Day hosted by the committee and the town of Robbins. PetSmart is also a sponsor.
Partis said that pets will be available for adoption and animal control officers will be available to give rabies shots for $5. The event will be staged in downtown Robbins from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 14.
Led by county and town officials, a pet parade will begin at 10:15, and Partis said everyone is invited to bring their pets and join the parade.
Programs and demonstrations on pet care, rescue, choosing a pet, caring for hunting dogs and canine-assisted reading education are among the features.
"I think it will be quite entertaining," Partis said.
A number of professionals will present demonstrations of dogs with such skills as agility, Frisbee, pointing and sheepherding.
Eight animal welfare organizations, including the county Animal Shelter, will host what the committee is calling the "biggest pet adoption event in the area."
Luther the Therapy Dog will be an attraction. Luther is used in the schools to encourage children in their reading efforts.
Programs on such subjects as pet nutrition and care will be presented by local veterinarians.
The Pet Celebration will also feature the traditional festival events, ranging from booths to face painting.
The committee's work drew praise from County Commis-sioner Jimmy Melton, who now serves as liaison between the county and the committee.
"You all do a fantastic job of getting the word out," Melton said.
Dr. Tom Daniel, a veterinarian member of the committee, questioned the wisdom of reporting a potential saving of $800,000 as a result of the committee's spay/ neuter efforts. He called the figure misleading because it represents savings only if some of the animals finally make it to the county shelter, where administration and care of unwanted animals are costly to taxpayers.
Daniel said the average spay/neuter procedure actually represents a saving estimated at $3 to the taxpayer per animal.
The $800,000 estimate was based on the average cost to the county of the number of unborn puppies and kittens on the assumption that each animal would have produced a certain number of puppies and kittens within three years.
A formula estimating the number of offspring from each animal was used to reach the total. It was part of a routine report made to the county commissioners in March.
Maureen Burke-Horansky of Animal Advocates said other costs are also associated with animals allowed to run wild. She mentioned in particular the expense involved in accidents caused by drivers who brake to avoid striking a dog or cat running into the road.
In addition to physical injuries to drivers and passengers and vehicle damage, such accidents are costly in terms of response by law enforcement, ambulance and rescue groups, not to mention the cost of "someone to clean up the mess."
The committee was given an update on educational programs introduced into the public school curriculum. Children are being advised that families must be responsible for the care of kittens and puppies born to family pets and that unwanted animals are often put to death at the animal shelter because the animals far outnumber the people wanting to adopt.
"You love your animals, of course, but you do it because it's the right thing to do," Melton said of spay/neuter projects.
The committee adopted Robbins as the first community to focus the spay/neuter effort after its appointment by the county commissioners early last year. Members briefly discussed which community should be selected next, and Aberdeen and Pinebluff were mentioned as prospects.
In connection with the program, the Robbins Town Board is expected to adopt the county animal control ordinance as a town ordinance in the near future. Zumwalt reported that the town attorney has approved the wording.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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