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Animal lovers advocate for cats, dogs

COURTLAND

During the meeting of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 26, several people called on the panel members to make improvements to the county’s shelter, which has only seven kennels for dogs and cats.

Stacy Tarroli, who said she fosters shelter dogs until a permanent home can be found for them, asked that the budget be increased for the local shelter. Tarroli noted that in this fiscal year’s budget $121,409 was set aside for the county site; Isle of Wight has $587,064 for its location. She also recommended that Southampton charge adoption fees such as Isle of Wight.

Edie Fisher, who said she’s lived in the Black Creek area since 2014, told how she once found a pregnant pit bull, but was advised not to call Southampton’s animal control. She also fostered and got the dog and puppies placed in other homes. Fisher reported that she’s seen “numerous hunting dogs on my property who are injured or malnourished. I’ve seen it all too often.”

Andrea Hudson, a member of Partners Among Cats and Canines, said, “Our moral duty is to fix this problem.”

Nicole Hubert, who came from Portsmouth, asked if money intended for the country club’s golf program could be rerouted to shelters?

William Gillette of Capron, who belongs to the Virginia Hound Heritage Inc., told those people that consideration of assistance will be made at a future board meeting.

Leslie M. Utley, a volunteer transporter for the Animal Control Shelter, requested extra time to speak to the board. She quoted from a “Report on Annual Intakes and Outcomes from 2005 to 20018 Southampton County Animal Control and Public Shelter and Partners Among Cats and Canines:”

In 2015, Partners Among Cats and Canines partnered with the Southampton County Animal Control Public Shelter to provide low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination services and transfer and placement coordination assistance. Prior to this partnership, from 2005 to 2014, the Southampton County averaged a save rate of only 28.2 percent (70.3 percent average euthanasia rate) for dogs. After partnering with PACC, from 2015-2018, the County raised its average save rate to 71.85 percent (and lowered its average euthanasia rate to 27.3 percent) for dogs. PACC has met the need for funding primary through donations and pledges from the community. Volunteers for PACC assist with placement and transfer to Virginia and U.S. non-profit rescue organizations through networking, phone calls and social media marketing strategies.”

More details can be found within the agenda packet for that night’s meeting on the county’s website.

Utley also asked the County’s help for PACC to get a grant writer.

Becky Lowe, also of PACC, spoke for fellow member Ryan Gibbs, who was unable to make his presentation. The first recommendation is to build a new shelter, one that could hold a minimum of 20 kennels, and include a place for animals to exercise. Obtaining grants could make that a reality. Further, hiring a kennel manager for networking and transporting animal to veterinarians.

Among the ideas to reduce owner-surrender of pets is to have a certified dog-trainer on staff to provide free and routine obedience training

To increase adoption rates, offer open visitation of the shelter for potential adopters during regular hours and weekends.

The group has suggested that the county jail work-release program prohibits community volunteers, the latter of which should be permitted and encouraged. Lack of volunteer liability insurance coverage is also prohibitive.

Hours of operation could also be expanded as a way to encourage visits and adoptions.

Seeking and acquiring grants was again emphasized as a way to make the aforementioned changes possible.