DOBSON — County animal shelter officials say things are moving along smoothly for their new volunteer program, despite what some animal advocates say.
According to Corey Quesinberry, the shelter’s newly-appointed volunteer coordinator, more than two dozen volunteers turned up on Labor Day for the first training session, and they are now certified to work at the shelter.
A grant-writing committee meeting, comprised of volunteers, is set for Sept. 18, and with more volunteers interested than could attend the Labor Day training session a second class is set for Oct. 16.
Quesinberry said he wants “as many volunteers as we can get,” but noted that it takes time to get things organized.
“Right now, we’re working at finding out what these volunteers can do, and finding out what skills complement each other,” he said. “So I’m pretty pleased with the progress of the volunteer program. The turnout was great for our first meeting, and I hope it will be that way for the Oct. 16 meeting.”
And he said he sees outstanding talent among the new crop of volunteers.
“I have top-notch volunteers, and the ones who are coming for the next training session are top-notch,” he said. “They’re going to be a great asset and a great thing to help the shelter.”
But at least one animal advocate doesn’t think things are moving quickly enough.
Last month, a meeting with Kimberley Alboum, the state director of the Humane Society of the U.S., was held. It was at that meeting where the seed for the new volunteer certification was planted.
Following that meeting, Jane Taylor, the director of Mayberry4Paws, sent an email on Aug. 27, to Alboum urging faster action.
“(I) am very disappointed that things aren’t moving along,” she wrote. “Actually, nothing has been done that any of us are aware of.”
Shelter Director Gary Brown said yesterday that he hopes everyone will calm down and give shelter staff a little time to get organized.
“I’ve spoken to Jane several times and emailed her several times,” he said. “I’ve had to explain that we’re having to take baby steps. We’re starting (the volunteer program) from scratch and it’s going to take time.
“I think we’re making progress, but it may not be as quickly as some people want,” Brown added. “These things take time. As for myself, I’m pleased with (Quesinberry), the progress we’re making and the interest we’re getting.”
Thomas Williams, the spokesman for the county health and nutrition center, which oversees shelter operations, echoed Brown.
“We had the meeting with the Humane Society in early August and here it is mid-September,” he said. “You’re looking at maybe six weeks since the meeting.
“It’s going to take a little time, but we’re moving at a comfortable pace since we’re starting from scratch. It’s better to move slowly and do things the right way than jump in with both feet and have to back up and punt,” Williams added.
“Quality is important,” Quisenberry said. “We want to do this right and not rush into anything.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.