11/17/05 — Advocates for new animal shelter meet to map out strategy

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Advocates for new animal shelter meet to map out strategy

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on November 17, 2005 1:49 PM

For years, supporters of animal welfare have urged Wayne County officials to build a new animal shelter.

County commissioners have selected a site for a new shelter and paid for its design.

But no money has been allocated for its construction.

On Wednesday, about two dozen people interested in building a new shelter gathered at a meeting of the county's Animal Control Advisory Committee to talk about the proposal.

The turnout had committee members pleased.

"We have been trying to get a new shelter for I don't know how long -- three years," said Dr. Stan Griffith, chairman of the committee. "One thing I'm so happy about is that we've got all these people here. It's usually just us. Our meetings have been lonesome. It's hard to go to the county commissioners and say, 'I want you to spend my money here to build a new facility,' and they say, 'Well, we're not hearing it from anybody else.' I look around and this is a good thing."

Griffith urged those present to help build support for a new shelter. Politicians listen when large numbers of voters speak up, he said.

"Until the county commissioners know that Wayne County cares," Griffith said, "they won't do anything."

Until a shelter is built, Griffith said, the county's problem with unwanted dogs and cats cannot improve. The existing shelter was built in the 1950s and is too small and in poor condition, say animal-rights supporters.

Joanne Hill of Goldsboro said she is concerned about the public's desire to help prevent animals from being put to death. She said she had tried to save a dog that had suffered from abuse but it was put to death before she could rescue it.

"I want to think that the people at the animal shelter care. I want to think people care. I want to think the commissioners care, but that facility has been there since the 1950s," Hill said. "I just don't see too many people that care."

Kathyrine Ernst of Rosewood agreed that an apathetic community has contributed to the growing problem at the shelter.

"I blame the general public," Ernst said. "People dump animals all of the time. People don't take responsibility for anything anymore."

Griffith told the group that they need to spread the message and urge friends and neighbors to also actively get involved in pushing for the project to be undertaken. People need to let the county commissioner in their district know how they feel about the issue, he said.

People interested in signing a petition for a new animal shelter in the county were asked contact Anita Hajjar at 922-3008 or Barrett Parker at 751-3928.