C.A.R.E. poised to take over Wexford shelter
By Genine Hopkins
C.A.R.E. – Consider Adoption, Reduce Euthanasia – a local Harrison animal rescue organization, has been in conversations with Wexford County to contract county animal shelter operations. The group’s President, Betty Lloyd, a strong animal rights activist, is pleased to have the opportunity for CARE to work with Wexford County leaders to promote higher rates of adoption and lower the rates of euthanasia at the shelter.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for CARE to help the Wexford County citizens and animals,” she said, “We hope that an arrangement can be reached soon to begin our transition.”
Lloyd and other CARE members had opened the conversation a couple of months ago. They attended a Special Meeting of both the Wexford County Board of Commissioners/Cadillac City Council on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at 5 p.m. at the Wexford County Civic Center, which was called solely to discuss issues at Wexford County’s Animal Shelter. CARE members, including Lloyd, were present to provide their ideas for the operations of the shelter.
CARE members have and will continue to volunteer their time at the Clare County Animal Shelter even as they pursue the Wexford County matter by assisting in finding rescue agencies for dogs that are often hard to place, such as pitbulls. CARE has helped, along with other local agencies and non-profits such as S.A.F.E. (Save Animals From Euthanasia), by working with the Clare County Animal Control officers to bring down the number of animals euthanized in Clare County. The opportunity opening up in Wexford County will simply add to their ability to insure all safe and healthy animals are given the opportunity to be adopted to a forever home. They strongly support education and adoption events, such as the one held during Clare’s Irish Festival this past March.
The Clare County Animal Shelter recently reported a significant decrease in the number of animals euthanized while the number of animals adopted increased year over year for their 2012 Annual Report, presented to the Clare County Board of Commissioners at the May meeting. Although Lloyd is the first to admit that she is but a small part of that improvement – the officers and staff have worked diligently at posting adoptable animals online and using events such as the Harrison Street Fair to hold adoption days – she is pleased with the results.
“Shelter Officer Dave Gendregske and I have really pulled together to partner on placing high risk animals that the shelter would otherwise have to euthanize in rescue organizations around the state,” Lloyd explained, “That combined with volunteer efforts, office staff dedication and the addition of a new officer to help Dave has made a HUGE difference in our local shelter. We hope to develop similar networking in Wexford County, bringing their adoption ratio up significantly.”
Although animal shelters are needed – around the state they saw a marked increase in abandoned animals during the housing market crash – as state revenue sharing runs lower each year, operational costs increase and the number of animals needing rescue continues to march onward, alternatives such as “privatizing” shelters is not out of the ordinary. Indeed, other states have followed suit, providing local rescue non-profits with contracts for animal control/shelter services.
During Lloyd’s presentation, she learned that there was one other group, located out of Leelanau County – Pine Cone Farm – that was requesting to bid on operations of the Wexford County shelter. The Review obtained a copy of a complaint filed against Pine Cone Farm’s President/Director, Linda Gottwald, and her Florida non-profit group SUFA (Stand Up For Animals), after contracting with several animal shelters within Monroe County, Florida. Among the allegations are failure to provide “receipts and keep appropriate records of all donations received at the Animal Shelters,” accounting failures and “failing to remit to the Plaintiff (Monroe County, FL), all funds collected for fees, license certificates, citations, penalties and adoptions.” The Second Amended Complaint by Monroe County, Florida was filed on March 22, 2013. When contacted for comment, Ms. Gottwald did state that she was the Director for SUFA but claimed “I have done nothing wrong and have filed a counterclaim. I hope this will resolve soon.” On Facebook, the Pine Cone Farm status has Gottwald as the “Founder.”
Upcoming events C.A.R.E. has lined up to raise funds for their group include:
May 18th-Cadillac Tractor Supply Company (TSC) Adoption Event
June 1st- Fundraiser Event in Northwoods Feed & Supply in Cadillac
June 8th- TSC Adoption Event, Cadillac
June 15th- Adoption/Fundraiser Event in Lake George at Neighborhood Watch Expo