Group doggedly works on shelter

Group doggedly works on shelter
The movement to start a countywide animal shelter is slowly moving closer to becoming a reality.
The small but dedicated group of volunteers pushing for an animal shelter met Thursday night at the Obion County Public Library for the second time in recent weeks.
It is the goal of the group to raise enough money to start a new animal shelter that would basically serve all of Obion County. Also, the group hopes to be able to staff the shelter with at least two full-time workers who would be responsible for managing the facility while also working on educating the public on the importance of responsible pet ownership.
The animal shelter group has been meeting informally for the past few months to come up with a strategic plan that will involve fundraising and locating a suitable site for a new animal shelter.
So far, several sites have been considered and it appears the group is interested in locating the facility between Union City and Troy. Such a location would put the shelter geographically in the center of the county and would make it accessible for people interested in volunteering at the facility, those interested in adopting an animal and even those who have to drop off an animal.
The term “ambitious” has been used several times to describe the group’s goal of opening a new animal shelter, but it appears obvious the group is determined to have a facility that would serve the entire county.
Several towns around the county, as well as rural areas in the county, currently struggle with the issue of dealing with abandoned, abused and unwanted animals. Obion is one of those towns, and city officials there have been told it will cost about $3,500 to build a four-kennel facility to take in stray dogs. That figure does not include the cost to operate the facility and other expenses involved in maintaining a kennel.
Obion Police Chief Royce Aker provided the Obion City Council with a formal report in which he describes how other cities in the county and the Obion County Sheriff’s Department deal with stray dogs.
In his report, he stated only South Fulton and Troy have part-time dog catchers and their own kennels.
“We have had several calls recently from citizens stating that if we continue keeping dogs in cages that are too small, with no weather protection, having to sleep in their own waste, and with no food or water, we will be reported to the Humane Society,” Aker’s report states.
The local Pudge N Pals agency has been working for the past few years as an animal rescue organization, dealing primarily with stray dogs that are picked up and “adopted” by foster families until a permanent home can be secured.
At Thursday’s night more than hour-long meeting at the library, the group began work on forming an executive committee and establishing several committees.
Kevin Bowden agreed to serve as interim chairman of the animal shelter group and will work with Pudge N Pals volunteer Laura Archer to keep the project alive. Beverly Wheeler will serve as vice chairman, Patti Moyers will serve as secretary and a treasurer is expected to be named within the next two weeks.
Carol Abernathy agreed to serve as chairman of a fundraising/budget committee and she has already begun putting together volunteers to serve on that committee with her.
The group will meet again at 7 p.m. April 30 at the local library. The meeting is open to the public and will focus on the key issue of identifying volunteers to serve on three other important committees — a volunteers committee, a facility committee and a promotions committee.
Another important issue will be dealt with at the April 30 meeting, and that is coming up with a formal name for the shelter organization.
“We really need a good turnout at this April 30 meeting and we hope people will show up with some good ideas and a desire to go to work on this project,” one organizer said.

Published in The Messenger 4.20.12

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