Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Shelter Hits the Road

     Before we get to the main subject of today's post, some timely news about shelters in our area. This week, the 
MD Dept. of Agriculture announced recipients of 475 thousand dollars in grants, aimed at reducing intake and euthanasia numbers at our state's animal shelters. 
     The plan was to accomplish this goal by increasing low-income residents' access to spay and neuter services. 
     Fifty-one non profit and governmental organizations applied for the grants. Fourteen have been chosen to receive money, among them, BARCS (Baltimore City's animal shelter), the MD SPCA, and the Baltimore Humane Society. 
    The Baltimore County Animal Shelter did apply for this money but was not chosen as one of the grant recipients.
     I spoke with Jane Mallory, the Program Coordinator for this grants program at the MD Dept. of Agriculture about why the Baltimore County Animal Shelter did not win one of the grants.
     She told me that those chosen included shelters offering spay and neuter services for free. Baltimore County's grant request involved creating more outreach and advertising for its current  spay and neuter program, which provides spay and neuter services for $65 for dogs and $50 for cats. 
     With grant money limited, the MD Dept. of Agriculture selected those programs that would do more for low-income residents, and determined "free" is better than "low-cost." Some of the grant winners even offered transportation to and from spay/neuter locations.
     The Dept. of Agriculture plans to communicate with those who did not win grants to tell them how they can improve their chance of success when next year's grants are awarded. I hope the county is able to secure a grant next year, as low-income county residents could certainly benefit from it.
    That aside, I want to express enormous thanks to this week's Save 90 advertisers. They are three more Baltimore County businesses that care about the animals in the 
Baltimore County Animal Shelter, and support the concepts expressed in this blog.
 They are:
 Graul's Market
 Zibazz Hair Studio 
Linens & Lingerie
Here are their ads:

These businesses now add their names to the growing list of 
Save 90 advertisers:
Chesapeake Contracting
Needles and Threads of Ruxton
Bare Necessities
Edie Brown Associates
The Mark Building Company
Studio of Makeup
BJS Insurance
Parsonizing Dry Cleaners
Graul's Market
Zibazz Hair Studio
Linens and Lingerie

     I hope you'll give your business to these companies that care about our community's animals. They have helped Save 90 raise $2360.00 (that number just keeps climbing!) All money goes to area animal rescue organizations like 
Animal Allies Rescue Foundation (AARF).

    Two more checks will be written next week to 
Adopt a Homeless Animal and The Feline Rescue Association. 

Now on to this week's post, "The Shelter Hits the Road":
     Running an animal shelter must be a little like the 
"I Love Lucy" episode where the chocolates go faster and faster on the conveyor belt. Administrators must constantly find ways to get animals out alive, as a never-ending stream of dogs and cats continues to pour through the door. 
     It's not often that something new offers a whole new way to promote adoption. But that's what's happened at BARCS, the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter.  
    This extraordinary adoption tool has been fondly named the BFF Waggin. It's a beautiful new van, specially equipped to take shelter animals out into the community. There, they can meet potential adopters in pleasant, friendly surroundings. 
      The BFF Waggin boasts secure cages that can accommodate up to 33 dogs and cats. It has heat and A/C, running water, and a fridge. 
     And can you believe it...this amazing vehicle, with a price tag of 150 thousand dollars, came to BARCS through an anonymous gift.
     The BFF Waggin hit Baltimore's streets this past August, and has 5 adoptions under its (fan) belt….several more if you count those people who were at BFF Waggin events, decided to visit the shelter, and adopted dogs there.
       A few weeks ago, organizers of Baltimore Beach Volleyball invited BARCS to bring the BFF Waggin to a tournament at Rash Field. 
Take a look.

     You might see the BFF Waggin driving the streets of Bal-timore or at partner stores such as Pet Smart, Petco, and Pet Valu. Organizers can also request a visit from the BFF Waggin, so you'll be seeing it at special events and festivals too. 
     Just think of all the potential adopters this vehicle will reach who may have never gone to BARCS. They'll meet animals in relaxed settings, more likely to allow the dogs and cats to show their true personalities. This, of course, makes them more likely to be adopted.
     I don't know the name of the anonymous donor who gave this generous gift. I'm not privy to the reasons why he or she chose BARCS as the donation's recipient. 
     I imagine it may have had something to do with the dedication of BARCS employees and volunteers, and the amazing work they do to find loving homes for close to 80% of the 12 thousand animals that come through the shelter each year. 
     Just imagine: what would happen if Baltimore County Animal Services decided to emulate BARCS...creating similar programs for enrichment, volunteers, and coordination with rescues? What if Baltimore County even decided to let a 501c3 run the shelter in a public/private partnership with the county, just as BARCS does with Baltimore City?
     I believe that will be the day when philanthropic animal lovers will choose the Baltimore County Animal Shelter as the recipient of their charitable donations. 
     Just imagine how these changes would improve the lives of animals in the shelter. Just imagine how many more of them would find happy, forever homes. This is what Save 90 is all about. 
     I can see it. Can you? 
    If so, let your county representatives know it. That's the first step to making it a reality.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for Maryland Votes for Animals for initiating and lobbying on behalf of the spay/neuter legislation that established the grant program!


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