DOBSON —After years of what can only be described as dysfunction, county animal advocates and animal shelter officials have set a date to sit down and try to mend fences.
On the heels of a proposal by a North Shore Animal League Rescue to transport animals that would likely otherwise be put down from Surry County to New York for adoption, county officials have agreed to open a dialogue with animal advocates.
The meeting will be held in room 335 of the Surry County Government Center in Dobson at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 7.
“In addition to running an animal rescue, they get a lot of their animals from kill shelters located in the South,” she said. “In the northeast, state legislation requires pet owners to spay or neuter their pets, so their shelters don’t fill up with puppies. In order to have enough puppies to meet their demand for adoption, they come south and get puppies and take them back up there,” said Jane Taylor, a spokesman for spay/neuter program Mayberry4Paws.
Recently, North Shore contacted Taylor after being alerted to the high local kill rates by officials with the Millan Foundation, founded by famed “Dog Whisperer” Caeser Millan.
Local animal advocates have been in contact with the foundation since the high kill rates were publicized last year in The Mount Airy News.
“They’ve offered to work with animal welfare groups in Surry County and pull from our shelter,” she said. “If this actually happens, they will come and get the animals and provide the transportation up north.”
And the service will not only save the lives of local animals in the shelter, it will come at no cost to the county.
Taylor said local animal advocates would have to pay for rabies shots and a certification that the animals are fit for adoption by a veterinarian.
She said that after years of bickering with shelter officials over the high kill rates in the county, she hopes the March 7 meeting will be the impetus for a new, cooperative relationship between the two groups.
“I am thrilled with this opportunity to have community animal advocates meet with representatives of the animal control department,” Taylor said. “Ultimately, we share many common goals. Now that we are collaborating, we can reach those goals more quickly. Collaboration and outreach will save the lives of many healthy and adoptable pets.”
Thomas Williams, a spokesman for the Surry County Health and Nutrition Center, which oversees shelter operations, echoed Taylor.
“We always look forward to the opportunity to address concerns with the public who are seeking to offer positive things for the well-being of animals in the county,” he said. “We’re looking forward to sitting down and talking with them and hope for a positive outcome.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.