10/06/08 — New Animal shelter draws crowds but pet overpopulation still an issue

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New Animal shelter draws crowds but pet overpopulation still an issue

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 6, 2008 1:46 PM


Martin Brownlow, of Goldsboro, spends some time inside one of the visiting rooms at the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center getting acquainted with a puppy on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008. Brownlow wasn't sure if he would adopt a dog that day, but after sitting on the floor and playing with the puppy for a few minutes, he left cradling the dog in his arms.

Rebecca Greene of Goldsboro carried her new pet dog home last Monday from the county's Animal Adoption and Education Center.

She was so impressed by the center and staff that she was back the following day with her boyfriend and her sister who also were looking for new pets.

Ms. Greene's reaction to the new center at 1600 Clingman St. is typical of what Animal Control supervisor Justin Scally has witnessed since it opened in mid-August.

When asked if she had ever been to the old Brick Street animal shelter, Ms. Greene closed her eyes, frowned and nodded her head "yes."

"Yeah, I didn't really like it," she said. "The animals are well-kept here, and the people are nice."

Martin and Andie Brogden Brownlow of Goldsboro were at the shelter Tuesday afternoon looking for a new puppy. They weren't sure they would find one, but just minutes later they left with Brownlow cradling a puppy in his arms.

One of their pets died last week, Brownlow said earlier as he sat on the floor playing with the puppy in one of the rooms set aside for people to interact with the animals.

"This one is beautiful, absolutely beautiful," he said. "She's got nice feet, she'll grow up big.

"It (the center) is really nice, really clean. The dogs seem like they are well cared for which is the best thing and the staff is really helpful."

The Brownlows recently moved to Wayne County from California because of their new son and a desire to have a yard where he could play and be near family. Mrs. Brownlow is originally from Mount Olive.

Brownlow said he found out about the shelter through an Internet search.

"I had never been to the old one, but this is really nice," Mrs. Brownlow said. "I noticed it when we pulled in. We were talking about how nice it is. I am glad they built something like this."

"The traffic has increased (since the opening) in terms of both adoptions and people bringing in animals," Scally said.

"Does that mean it is because of having a brand new shelter or is it an issue of the economy?" he said. "I don't know. A lot of times people cannot afford to take care of them or they are moving and cannot afford to pay the pet fees."

He said people "love the building."

"People are commenting about the differences between the old building and the new one," he said. "Generally the public is very satisfied. It is very welcoming and the areas where they can visit with the pets are nice."

Scally said he is unsure how many people visit the center daily.

"People come in to adopt, drop off a pet or are looking for information," he said. "The reasons why they come really vary. I think for a while there were a lot of people just stopping by to see the new place and see the animals. It has leveled off some."

This past Monday, there were 25 visitors and between 15-20 on Tuesday. Visitors are asked to sign in, but not everyone does and in the case of a family, one person signs for an entire family.

"When we first open up these doors at 10 a.m. there is a pretty good rush of people including people bringing in animals and others are calling us to come pick them (animals) up," he said.

The center averages 20 service calls per day for pickups and animal cruelty calls. The average is normally down during the winter months, he said.

Scally said people have questioned him as to why the staff arrives early, but the doors don't open until 10 a.m.

"The staff comes in at 7 a.m. to start cleaning up," he said. "The reasoning is that we have got to take care of all of these animals. We don't have enough people to have the public to come and us do the cleaning all at the same time."

Even though the doors do not open until 10 a.m., someone is on call, he said. The center, that has nine full-time employees including Scally, closes at 5:30 p.m. It is also open on the third Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 20, seven animals were adopted out, but five were brought in.

"I think one of the biggest issues is pet overpopulation," Scally said. "That is the real problem. There are so many animals. People need to spay and neuter their pets."

Adoption fees are $50 for females (dogs and cats) with a $40 refund when the animal is spayed. The fee is $35 for males with a $25 refund when the animal is neutered.

The new facility has "been a long time" coming, Scally said.

"It took everybody working together to get this done," he said.

Scally continues to receive calls from others interested in building a shelter. They want to know how the county did it, he said.

"One unique aspect was the involvement of the Humane Society that gave so much assistance," he said.

Since opening in August, work has been completed on a wash-down area for disinfecting trucks after calls.

Also, incomplete at the time of the opening was a memorial garden.

"We are getting ready to start on the memorial garden and a new lighted exterior sign," Scally said.

Scally was asked about his feelings on moving from the 2,000-square-foot Brick Street building to the new 11,000-square-foot facility occupying almost 4 acres.

"I think for one thing the animals seem happier to be in their own cage and not have to share with so many animals in an open cage," Scally said. "When you walk through these kennels, it is a lot different than Brick Street. They seem happier, granted they would rather be home. It is brighter. They have little resting areas to get off grounds and the cats have blankets.

"It makes me feel good. We deal with all the different things every day. We deal with the cruelty. We deal with homeless animals. It's nice to see them getting the gratification they deserve."