A request last year for increased funding to help curtail the increased number of dogs and cats admitted to the county’s Animal Services shelter in Carthage is paying off, local animal advocates told county commissioners on Tuesday.
Targeted outreach events in Pinebluff, Robbins and West Southern Pines in recent months resulted in over 380 rabies inoculations -- of those, 197 were administered to animals that had never been vaccinated before.
The ripple effect of over 100 spay and neuter surgeries has saved the county an estimated $20,000 in animal services expenditures, said local veterinarian, Dr. Tom Daniels, a founding member of the Companion Animal Clinic Foundation. The outreach efforts also provided around $11,000 worth of veterinary services and vaccines, and nearly $10,000 worth of pet food to needy families.
“We gave you back $20,000 in services and saved you $20,000,” Daniels said, noting that rabies control measures are particularly important. He was joined Tuesday by Angela Zumwalt, chairwoman of the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC).
Founded in 2007, PCR’s mission is to provide and drive, with the support of the Moore County Commissioners, solutions to the local pet overpopulation problem. PRC coordinates a team of more than 60 volunteers who present a six session program on pet responsibility to all public schools and a number of private schools in the area. The program is integrated with Moore County Schools’ (MCS) character education program, focusing on good judgement, integrity, kindness, perseverance, respect and responsibility and is also linked to the N.C. Standard Course of Study.
Zumwalt said they shifted gears in 2020 to accommodate virtual outreach with school children and also provided outdoor learning sessions. PRC’s pet pantry team also expanded their distribution sites in the county to assist more families. In addition, 190 pets in the Robbins area were spayed and neutered thanks to a partnership with the Sandhills Cat Coalition and Sandhills Spay Neuter Clinic in Vass.
Commissioner Catherine Graham said she was heartened by the large contingent of PRC volunteers and their therapy dogs who accompanied Zumwalt and Daniels.
“We hear a lot of negative news. The good news never seems to make the news. But this reminds us that Moore County is a good place to live,” Graham said. “Certainly the taxpayers have received so much more...just the rabies vaccines in itself are worth the funding.”
The county’s Digital Inclusion Task Force was formed earlier this year to help determine where broadband infrastructure is needed to benefit the greatest number of residents, communicate and market options for affordable internet service opportunities, and help increase digital literacy in the county.
Chris Butts, Moore County’s IT director, encouraged all residents to participate in the statewide broadband survey to assist with their efforts. The survey can be accessed online at https://ncbroadband.gov/survey or by phone at 919-750-0553. For best results, the survey should be completed from your home computer or wi-fi enabled device.
“What this survey will do is provide us with dots on the map to give us good information about what areas are not serviced by broadband,” Butts said. “We want to fill in the real picture of what broadband service looks like in Moore County.”
The task force is coordinating with local schools and Sandhills Community College to share information with students about the survey. A direct mailer is also being developed that will be sent to rural households.
Information gathered from the survey will also help guide funding opportunities through North Carolina’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program, inform research and policy recommendations, and support strategic targeting of additional funding channels.
According to the state’s Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), more than one million North Carolina residents lack access to a high-speed internet connection, cannot afford internet service, do not have an adequate device or do not have the skills needed to work, learn, access telehealth or engage otherwise with the digital economy.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden will bring close to $1 billion in federal funding to help close the digital divide in North Carolina.
With these funds and the N.C. General Assembly’s appropriation of more than $960 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds, NDDIT seeks to raise the percentage of North Carolina households with high-speed internet subscriptions from 73 percent to 80 percent and raise the percentage of households with children with high-speed internet subscriptions from 81 percent to 100 percent.
“With this dedicated funding for broadband infrastructure and digital equity, NCDIT can make remarkable strides in equipping North Carolinians with affordable high-speed internet access, technology and skills so they can connect to essential digital resources,” NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer James Weaver said in a statement Tuesday. “We are working with internet service providers and local municipalities and are encouraging public-private partnerships to ensure we deploy the best solutions to meet each community’s needs.”
In other action on Tuesday, the Moore County Board of Commissioners:
- Approved a $351,000 contract for special inspections for courthouse project
- Authorized a land swap with Hope Wilson for property at the county’s landfill on N.C. 5
- Approved two contracts with Capital Ford for the purchase of five trucks at a total cost of $148,141
- Approved three contracts with Performance Automotive Group for the purchase of six vehicles at a total cost of $133,690
- Reappointed Jason Blackburn, Renee Brooks, and Buddy Howell to the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council