08/02/08 — A humane step: New shelter can inspire more strides on animals' behalf

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A humane step: New shelter can inspire more strides on animals' behalf

In a little more than two weeks, the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center will open its doors to the community.

There will be a new entry way and a line of new cages. There will be an attractive landscape area.

The building will be new, fresh and more pleasant to enter. The animals will have better living conditions, and it won't be so hard to find a new cat or dog -- or to leave one with sad eyes behind. There will be plenty of people along who very well might offer those still in the cages a chance at a new life.

There will be a new atmosphere -- one that promotes the union of unwanted, abandoned or neglected new pets with their families. There will be volunteers on hand to help make those unions possible -- and to make sure that the animals have someone to speak for them.

It will be a place to be proud of for many, many years.

And while the grand opening dedication will be something to celebrate, the really special part of the new Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education will not be the facility itself. That is just bricks and mortar.

What makes this project special will be epitomized in the memorial garden that will soon be a permanent part of the grounds -- a collection of memorial markers dedicated by Wayne County residents to the pets they love.

McLamb Monument Co. has donated its services to make the small tributes possible.

Those little stones are concrete examples of what built the center -- and why it is such a shining star.

Without the generosity of thousands of Wayne County citizens -- most anonymously, there would be no new center. Many of the best parts of the shelter were made possible because so many people cared.

In essence, this shelter was built by the citizens of Wayne County -- from the large donors to the youngsters who gave up their birthday money to make sure needy animals had a place to go.

That is why this county should be so proud of what it will unveil in a couple of weeks -- and why all those involved should make sure to be there on the grand opening day.

But our work is not finished. Not yet.

Wayne County needs to continue to push responsible pet ownership and to make sure violators know that they will face stiff penalties if they break the rules.

We need to spay and neuter our pets and to support groups that make those procedures possible for poor families and those who could not otherwise fund care for their animals.

We should report animal abuse and neglect and be willing to stand tall when we see something that just isn't right.

A new shelter will not stop animal mistreatment and find every dog or cat a new home.

A community united and determined to make a difference will -- just as Wayne County did, one brick at a time.

Published in Editorials on August 2, 2008 11:28 PM