Panel Finalizing Plans for Aberdeen Pet Celebration
Adoptions, rabies shots, doghouse construction and a Westminster Mutts and Meows Show are among the attractions planned for the Aberdeen Pet Responsibility Celebration.
The Moore County Citizens' Pet Responsibility Committee is co-sponsoring the Saturday, April 19, event in cooperation with the towns of Aberdeen and Pinebluff.
The celebration will be staged on the campus of Southern Middle School on Johnson Street.
Visitors will be treated to demonstrations on agility, pointing dogs and Frisbee dogs and will have an opportunity to learn more about working dogs, care for pets, dog training and veterinary care.
"This is a one-day event. If it rains, we have no makeup day," said Pam Partis, the committee co-chairwoman who is coordinating the celebration.
However, if the weather is rainy but not impossibly bad, the show will go on, "rain or shine."
Partis told the committee at a Wednesday night meeting that it is helpful publicity to advise interested persons that the pet committee is the same organization that sponsored the successful Top Hats and Tails fundraiser at Homewood Suites in Olmsted Village in December. Top Hats and Tails made a number of pet adoptions possible and also raised money to continue committee operations.
Committee Co-chairwoman Angela Zumwalt reported that a number of civic groups have agreed to participate in the Houses for Hounds project, in which civic club members make doghouses to be given to needy pet owners who take good care of their pups but don't have enough money to buy a suitable doghouse. Among the participating clubs are Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, Interact, Jaycees and church groups.
"Hopefully we'll have some shelter for dogs this summer," Zumwalt said.
Zumwalt said that the Houses for Hounds volunteers expect to build 15 houses during the day. At the end of the day, each volunteer will be presented a memento in the form of a miniature doghouse.
The celebration will open at 10 a.m. April 19 with a prayer, introductions and a pet parade. County Commissioner Jimmy Melton, the county's liaison with the committee, will welcome everyone. Special invitations have been extended to the mayors of Aberdeen and Pinebluff, their town board members, the county commissioners, and to Mike Metcalf, principal of Southern Middle School.
Everyone attending the celebration will be asked to join the parade and to bring family pets to march along with the people.
The show ring, an adaptation of the prestigious Westminster Dog Show, will display dogs and cats available for adoption. The animals will be provided by the county Animal Shelter and other participating nonprofit animal protection organizations. Two show rings are planned, one for dogs and one for cats.
Because all animals must be on leashes, it is expected that the meow part of the show will be shorter than the dog show, but both dogs and cats will be available for adoption.
During the day, Moore County Animal Control personnel will be available to provide one-year rabies vaccinations for $5. Visitors may also have their pets micro-chipped for identification purposes, and a dog wash will be available. A veterinarian and a dog trainer will be on hand to answer questions.
Pet organizations will staff a number of booths, where pet information will be dispensed and pet items will be offered for sale.
Information about services provided by such groups as the Humane Society, Animal Advocates and the Haven will be available. Animal control officers will provide information about state law and the county ordinance dealing with animal issues.
A key emphasis will be directed toward spay/neuter efforts, which is the principal purpose of the committee. The committee was formed by the Moore County Board of Commissioners three years ago in response to the overwhelming need to curb the number of animals being turned in to the Animal Shelter, where many of these animals must be euthanized to make room for more and more animals.
"We wouldn't have to do all this if people were responsible for their pets," Zumwalt said.
So far, the committee has been successful in reaching hundreds of pet owners who want to do the right thing but lack financial resources to pay for spay and neuter procedures.
The committee secured an allocation from the county to help provide these procedures at lower cost to pet owners. Donations from individuals, groups and businesses also helped, along with the opening this year of a regional spay/neuter clinic that is taking over this aspect of the program.
Because of the large number of irresponsible pet owners, the county has a new committee now working on revising the animal control ordinance.
Melton, who also works with the ordinance committee, said that the purpose is to insert more teeth into the county's animal control ordinance.
"I didn't realize there were so many holes in the ordinance," Melton said of the ordinance revision committee's work.
He said the work is a slow process because members are tackling the ordinance "line by line, word by word." At the end of each meeting, the revision work is turned over to Deputy County Attorney Brenda White and Al Carter, director of the Animal Control program, for review and polishing.
Melton said that the committee is a dedicated group and when members disagree on an issue, they work together toward a solution.
"An ordinance is coming together, and they're working well as a group," Melton said. "Too many animals are being killed. We've just got to stop it."
Melton thanked the pet committee for its work and reported that his fellow commissioners are fully supportive of the effort.
"This group right here is probably the most amazing group I work with. It's a diversified group, and all are concerned about helping the county and helping animals," Melton said to the pet committee.
The April celebration in Aberdeen is the second event sponsored by the committee. The first such celebration was held last year in Robbins.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 947-4962 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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