Media Archive

Milo animal officer eyes shelter for abandoned pets

Article from Bangor Daily News, Wednesday, October 01, 2003

By Diana Bowley
of the NEWS Staff

MILO - A local woman is seeking support from her community to open a shelter-sanctuary for abandoned animals.Valerie Robertson, Milo and Brownville's animal control officer, has been distributing surveys to residents to gauge interest for the Penquis Animal Welfare Sanctuary, or P.A.W.S.

"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," Robertson said.

If the six surveys she has received in the first few days are an indication, the project will have plenty of support.

"The support I've gotten so far is unbelievable; I truly believe I will raise the money," Robertson said this week. She also has the support of town officials.

"It is an excellent project," Milo Town Manager Jane Jones said Tuesday. Jones said the survey is part of a "full-blown" feasibility study being undertaken by Robertson. There is a need for a shelter, but the question is whether the resources are available to open and maintain it through the years, she said.

Robertson believes grants and state funds can be obtained for the operation and maintenance of the facility. The state is increasing the fee to license dogs that haven't been neutered or spayed by $2, and those funds are used to promote spaying and neutering, she said. "If we had a shelter and a clinic room, we could get our area's share of that money," Robertson explained. She also said that many grants are available for shelters that promote neutering and spaying.

Robertson hopes to educate the public and provide people with an opportunity to spay or neuter pets to help control or eliminate the runaway pet population in the area. To do that she plans to hold regular spaying and neutering clinics, as well as immunization clinics.

Well aware of the need for a safe, short-term holding facility for lost pets, Robertson said she now is keeping a 3-year-old German shepherd and about 20 cats and kittens in her home. She said she had processed about 50 cats that were reported lost or abandoned since May. She said another local animal welfare worker, Julie Gallagher, also has a house full of stray and abandoned cats.

"I think people look at cats as disposable," Robertson said, noting that some people tire of an older cat and replace it with a kitten. The cats and kittens she and Gallagher now have were abandoned on roadsides or at local farms. Both refuse to have animals euthanized unless they test positive for a terminal illness or have been injured to the point they cannot live pain-free.

Robertson also recognizes that not all cats are suitable for adoption, so she has included a long-term cat room in her plans, to provide a place where older cats can live out heir lives.

One location being eyed for the shelter is the former M.C. Horne building located across the street from the ambulance garage. The property is for sale, and Robertson hopes a deal can be struck with the owners.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.