Give support to keep animals and business local
To the Editor:
It is budget time again for towns. Animal shelters and animal control are included in that budget battle as well as police, fire and schools, etc. Several years ago, the animal welfare budget was shifted, by a prior town manager, from the managers office department budget to the police department budget.
Since that time, the animal department, in my opinion, has been diminished, and disrespected along with being forced to operated on less then base wage rates.
Three years ago, Police Chief Stacy Carter informed me that he was looking into prices and fees from out-of-town animal shelters for future service. I sat down with him and the Town Manager Carlo Puiia to discuss a compromise. When I brought up the issue of the extra travel costs the Animal Control Officer (ACO) would incur if she had to place the animals out of town, I was told that the ACO would not be paid any more money for traveling out of town and that, “She is paid a salary.”
This salary, mind you, is poverty level wages for a job that is dangerous and around the clock at times and includes doing law enforcement work. However, I am not here to defend the ACO position, I shall leave that up to her. At that meeting three years ago, I agreed to decrease my sheltering rate substantially. Now three years later, I receive again word from Police Chief Stacy Carter that he will be seeking rates from out-of-town animal shelters to present to the board of selectman on June 20. Mr. Carter wants to show to the board that he has found a way to save some money from his budget by sacrificing the animal welfare of this community.
Rumford citizens -- I am asking for your support! Please call your selectmen and tell them you do not support our lost animals being shuffled around the state! Tell them you want their continued support by patronizing a business who’s tax dollars are spent here where it is needed and not out of town.
Tell them we need more business here in Rumford and we need to put an end to driving away good business that are already here and are part of the backbone of this community. Ask them to put more effort into finding ways to work with the small business that are crumbling around us and not turn their backs on our history.
Tell them to respect the citizens who franticly search for their lost pets and tell them to be respectful of their ACO’s who now have 24-hour access to the shelter for impoundments! Tell them you do not support being on a waiting list when you need animal control services for an animal you have found because of travel or space issues which is the case with out of town sheltering.
Anyone who has ever had to come pick up their lost pet in the evening, during a winter storm, during the lightning or fireworks, the heat of summer or those who have come up in taxi cabs, please think about how it would be if we were not here for you. For everyone who has come to my door with a scared cat or dog or a box of kittens they’ve found, think about what it would be like if we were not here. For everyone who has come and adopted their best friend, think about what it would be like if we were simply not here!
Please call your selectmen -- Brad Adley, 364-4919; Jolene Lovejoy, 364-2783; Jeffery Sterling, 364-8388; Gregory Buccina, 346-3392; Managers Office, 364-4576, ext. 212 -- and tell them to suport McKennel's Animal Adoption Agency as their town shelter for their animals.
Marsha L. McKenna