12/16/05 — Shelter groups will present petition

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Shelter groups will present petition

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on December 16, 2005 1:54 PM

Concerned Citizens of Wayne County plan to present 10,000 petition signatures at Tuesday's county commissioners meeting from residents who think a new animal shelter should be among the county's priorities in the new year.

Barrett Parker of Goldsboro, one of the community advocates for the shelter, said concerned citizens have been visiting public events to gather the signatures.

And even after the petition is presented to the commission, Doris Petrak of Goldsboro said she and others will continue to fight for a new shelter and to get information to local residents.

"People think it was a one-time thing, but it isn't a one-time thing. We are still collecting signatures," Mrs. Petrak said.

The animal shelter advisory board will present recommendations to the commission Tuesday regarding funding for the construction of a new facility, as well as guidelines and procedures for making the project possible, board member Jean Hollowell said.

George Wolfe, former chairman of the county's Animal Advisory Task Force, said Wayne County has the oldest shelter in the state, and it is time for the county to move forward by building a modern facility.

Wolfe said he has spoken with more than 40 counties in North Carolina. In the past decade, 17 shelters have been built, with three of those opening this year. However, Wolfe said, to his knowledge, there are only two shelters in the state that are older than 30 years. One is in the process of renovation. The other is in Wayne County and is 50 years old.

"The property is beyond repair," Wolfe said. "It's a dislocated piece of property. It sits on a flood plain. Any amount of money on that building would be a waste. It needs to be new and built. There's no option about it."

Until there is a new animal shelter, many members of Concerned Citizens of Wayne County said they will continue to find good homes for animals in the shelter before they are euthanized.

In the past two weeks, the shelter has attempted to increase the number of adoptions through the help of a local citizen and the Internet.

Jerry Pate, chief officer of the shelter, said a county resident has visited the shelter to take pictures of animals and place their profiles on Petfinder.com.

Recently, a Boston terrier from the animal shelter was profiled on the Web site. After the dog's mandatory five-day stay at the shelter, Pate said the dog was adopted immediately.

Although Pate welcomes any methods that could help the shelter place abandoned pets, he said the phone calls have continued to pour in for animals that are no longer at the shelter.

"The individual that does this need to get things updated, because we still get calls about the dogs. It gets the lines busy and clogs us up," Pate said.

With more updates, Pate said the service could be a real benefit for the community.

Petfinder.com has more than 200,000 homeless pets listed. Animals from the county's shelter can be viewed through www.petfinder.com/shelters/NC434.html.