Last updated: July 18. 2014 6:43PM - 462 Views
By Keith Strange kstrange@civitasmedia.com

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DOBSON — In what could herald a new working relationship following years of animosity between animal rescue groups and the Surry County Animal Shelter, the two groups are seeking to secure a grant that, if received, could lower the number of unwanted pets in the county.

“This is the first time it’s happened, but the county and Mayberry4Paws are partnering on writing the grant,” said Jane Taylor of Mayberry4Paws. “The grant is a targeted spay and neuter grant through PetSmart Charities which will allow us to target a specific geographic area in the county, and we’re planning on determining where the shelter has received the highest intake numbers and targeting that area.”

The money, if received, will be used to spay and neuter dogs.

“Our goal, and the shelter’s goal, is to slow down the pet overpopulation in the county, prevent new litters from being born and ultimately lower the intake and kill numbers at the shelter,” Taylor said.

While the exact amount of the grant is yet to be determined, Taylor said similar grants received by localities are in the neighborhood of $35,000.

She said she is pleased the shelter is opening its doors to rescue groups.

“I think it’s exciting and wonderful to be able to work with the county,” Taylor said. “Together we can get a lot more done than if we are working against one another.”

According to Taylor, the grant isn’t due for a couple of months, and the county is in the process of compiling data to complete the application.

“This grant is very data-driven, so it will take time to put the data together and complete the process,” she said.

An ancillary benefit to the grant is it allows for breed-specific targeting.

“One of the things we will be able to do with this grant is use the money to spay and neuter the breeds we see a high number of at the shelter,” Taylor said. “The shelter is willing to provide that information, and for example, there is a huge kill rate for labs in the county, so we would be able to use this grant money to single out that particular breed because it seems to be an issue in the county.”

As for the county, Maggie Simmons, a spokesperson for the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, which oversees shelter operations, said a new collaborative relationship seems to be forming between the county and rescue groups.

“The Surry County Animal Shelter and a committee of local rescue volunteers met recently to develop strategies in coordinating community volunteer efforts with the shelter in order to better address the growing need for more rescue organizations and foster homes,” she said.

During that meeting, Simmons said the subject of fund-raising and community education arose. Out of that discussion came a move to work together on securing the grant funding.

Simmons said she is pleased to see the new, collaborative relationship forming.

“We are excited to enhance the partnerships that are being created with local rescues,” she said. “We’re definitely trying to encourage a partnership with the rescues and it’s time for everyone to start working together.”

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter @strangereporter.

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