Pet Panel to Take Summer Off, Find New Course
After almost three years of intense work, the Moore County Citizens' Pet Responsibility Committee is taking a break.
At a Wednesday night meeting, the committee agreed not to meet monthly during the summer and to decide on a new course of action when it reconvenes in the fall.
Committee Co-chairwoman Angela Zumwalt reviewed the results of the pet responsibility celebration held in Aberdeen the previous Saturday, when at least 21 dogs and cats were adopted, 49 pets received rabies vaccinations and 20 received micro-chips for identification purposes.
Despite threatening weather and a couple of controversies, the celebration held on the Southern Middle School campus attracted a good attendance and was highlighted by the large number of adoptions. In fact, the committee said that after the event ended, there was a second wave of adoptions by people who spotted pets they liked during the celebration.
"The point is to keep our eye on the prize, and that's to get pets adopted, not euthanized," said one committee member.
Among the many attractions was Lily, the puppy critically injured several weeks ago after someone tied her to the back of a pickup truck and dragged her down the road, leaving her for dead. Her new owners brought Lily to the celebration.
Lily's broken and malnourished body was rescued by Animal Advocates of Moore County, which is represented on the pet committee. With the help of contributions and volunteers, the little black dog was restored to health and now has a good home. For several weeks in late winter, animal lovers were waiting anxiously for the latest news about Lily's condition.
During the pet celebration, Lily's supporters had an opportunity to see for themselves the progress she has made.
Credited for many of the pet adoptions was Lisa Bridge, a committee co-chair and the person who handled the mutt-minster-type dog show.
In a humorous take on the prestigious Westminster Dog Show, Bridge came up with apt names and "breeding" descriptions for the innumerable dogs displayed in the show ring during the celebration. Most of the dogs shown are of mixed breed but still have endearing qualities that Bridge described as they were shown.
Another success was the pet item resale booth staffed by Tammy Foster. The public was asked to donate used pet materials still in good condition for sale during the celebration. Toys, carriers, clothing, pet beds and related items were sold, bringing $653 in profit.
Zumwalt said the profit will be used to supplement committee funds that subsidize the reduced-fee spay/neuter program and to cover other expenses entailed by committee activities. The committee is a county panel, but has no operational funds other than a one-time allocation from the county budget two years ago. The committee has used that allocation, along with contributions from individuals, businesses and groups, to help pay the cost of spaying and neutering the pets of people with limited income.
"We all did a great job," said Pam Partis, the other co-chair of the committee. Partis chaired the Aberdeen/Pinebluff emphasis.
In a critique of the celebration, committee members shared a number of concerns, including the paucity of support from Aberdeen town officials. Pinebluff officials did attend, as did County Commissioner Jimmy Medlin, who is the county's liaison with the committee.
Members also raised questions about threats that the celebration would be picketed by people objecting to the invitation extended to one business to participate in the events. Aware of questions about their participation, managers of the business withdrew in advance of the celebration and did not participate. And the picketers did not show up.
However, one nonprofit expected to participate did not show up and reportedly set up a program of its own in a nearby shopping center.
One member raised objections to a hunting demonstration in which a pigeon was tethered for security purposes. The critic said the tethering sent a message to children that it's all right to abuse animals. It was later learned that the county animal control ordinance prohibits this type of tethering.
The man who conducted the demonstration said the intent was not to abuse the pigeon but to prevent the tame bird from flying away and getting lost. The same demonstration was held last year at a similar event in Robbins, and no objections were raised.
The committee was appointed by the Board of Commissioners three years ago to find solutions to the county's pet over-population problem, which is expensive to taxpayers and leads to the euthanization of many animals that would make good pets.
Robbins and surrounding areas became the focus of the committee's first campaign. Upon completion of that program, the focus was directed to Aberdeen and Pinebluff and surrounding communities.
Through the efforts of the committee, the Aberdeen-Pinebluff program has resulted in rabies vaccinations for 185 dogs and cats, the spaying and neutering of 83 pets and the trapping and altering of 80 feral cats (the latter carried out by Animal Advocates of Moore County).
The committee reached 900 school children through a pet responsibility education initiative, and information was also shared with a number of civic groups and churches.
Other committee activities in the past season include transport of 74 puppies to a Long Island animal adoption league and sponsorship of the Top Hat and Tails adoption event at Homewood Suites in Olmsted Village in December.
Now that the Sandhills Spay/Neuter Clinic has opened, the committee is referring spay/neuter requests to the clinic and has no plans to sponsor such clinics in the future. More than 1,200 such surgeries have been carried out at the clinic since it opened a few months ago.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at florence @thepilot.com.
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