P.A.W.S. LetterSeptember 01, 2003 - TRCDear area resident/and or business person:My name is Valerie Robertson and I am the Animal Control Officer for the Milo/Brownville area. Although I have performed these duties in an official capacity for only four months, I have always been actively involved with animals and their welfare. I know first hand of the need in our immediate area for a safe, centralized sanctuary for our lost, stray, abandoned or abused pets, and that need is the reason for this letter. I plan to raise the money, with the help of area animal lovers, for an animal shelter/sanctuary, the Penquis Animal Welfare Sanctuary, or P.A.W.S. for short.My vision and plan for this shelter is to house cats, dogs, rabbits, and any other abused, neglected or abandoned animal, and to provide a cheerful, safe, short-term holding facility for lost pets. I am well aware of this need. I am currently keeping a 3-year old German Shepherd and twenty assorted cats and kittens at my home, determined to find them a good, responsible home. My good friend and fellow animal welfare worker, Julie Gallagher, also has a house full of stray and abandoned cats and kittens along with the occasional dog. She has cared for and found good homes for hundreds of animals, often with the help of her friend Cookie Farrar. I’m sure many of you know of folks who do the same sorts of humane deeds, so you can realize the need for a shelter.My biggest and most ambitious plan for this shelter is to educate and provide people with the opportunity to spay or neuter their pets and help control the runaway pet population in our area. We will let no animal leave our hands until it has been spayed or neutered and we will not allow irresponsible pet owners to continue to drop off litter after litter. We will hold regular spaying/neutering clinics, as well as immunizations clinics. Owners will be encouraged and helped to get their animals sterilized and believe me, we can be very persuasive! We will work hand-in-hand with P.E.T.S., a local group who help animal owners with a low-cost spaying and neutering program, and are dedicated to the humane treatment of all animals.The buildings at the top of this letter are two of the locations Julie and I have looked at and are considering for our shelter. Each one has it good points, with the mutual bad point being that they each would need to be purchased. While the Town of Milo is looking into owning the shelter, I have assured Town Manager Jane Jones that we would raise all the money needed, and do all work involved with getting the shelter up and running. Once the shelter is established, there are federal, grant and foundation monies available. My daughter Katie is taking a grant-writing course this fall to learn how to apply for and receive the grants targeted to animal welfare agencies.I am also making plans for long-term cat care, as I realize not every animal is adoptable. We will be a strict “no kill” shelter, which means no animal will be euthanized unless they test positive for a terminal illness, or have been injured to the point that they cannot be made pain free and comfortable. In order to give these long-term animals a quality life, we plan on having a special large room where they can live with each other in a “living room “ type setting, complete with windows and furniture. We all have aunts who lived with multiple cats; picture their living room and you will be visualizing our dream room.The purpose of this letter is to see if the citizens of our area are willing to support this endeavor and if we have a chance at raising the thousands of dollars necessary to make this dream a reality. We are planning dozens of fund-raising events, but we need your help. Your response to the survey included with this letter is imperative and will determine whether we succeed or fail. Please take ten minutes or so and complete the questions, put a stamp on the envelope and return the survey to us. We will then have a sense for how the community feels and be able to project the fate of our dream.I want to thank you for taking the time to read this, and hope you respond. Every voice counts in our efforts to speak for and help the animals in our area.NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.