2006-01-19 / News

By Barbara Szepatowski

Last week, spring cleaning came early for the animal

shelter building.

Thanks to the volunteer help of Robert Barcellos, a local contractor, the shelter building was cleaned from top to bottom. Oneand a-half large dumpsters later, we can actually see how much space there is to work with, rather than trying to visualize it through boxes of junk piled 6 feet high or off of a set of plans. Although the building is small, it will be more than adequate for Jamestown’s first shelter venture. With the beautiful new sky lights donated by Eileen Hoff, the building should look airy and larger than it really is.

The tree removal was not as successful as the cleanout, so it’s back to the drawing board. The original plan was to drop the 100foot-tall trees onto the abutters lot. However, common sense prevailed thanks to the help of William Marsh, who had agreed to manage this part of the project. After looking at the potential damage to the abutter’s lawn, and the mess it would create, it now appears that the trees will have to be cut to a lower height using a bucket truck or some other type of apparatus.

After the trees are shortened, we will then recruit the many cats up for adoption through PawsWatch and the Humane Society of Jamestown. In an imaginary world, they would rip the trees from the ground and drop them onto the parking area behind the Town Offices for cutting, mulching, and disposal.

What a wonderful way to welcome our new administrator — sorry Mr. Keiser, there is no place to park because the cats are irritated about the shelter not opening on Valentine’s Day.

Back to reality. Thanks to the offer of a bucket truck from Jack Britain of Jack’s Electric; and Fire Chief Jim Bryer’s advising of the community service requirement of all Jamestown Fire Department recruits; the trees will be coming down sometime in the next week to two.

We will still need people to help with cutting and trimming the downed pieces so that they can either be disposed of, or put through Brian Dutra’s shredder for mulching. In the meantime the branches which overhang the shelter building roof will be removed to allow the roof to be replaced. Once the roof is completed, then the exterior of the building will be completed, allowing the rough installation of the plumbing and electric wiring.

At present, we have a need for additional volunteer sign-ups for all of the above tasks. Please call 423-9677 if you want to help with this stage of the construction.

Now back to the cats. With the exception of a few snow days, this has been a mild winter. Unfortunately, once it gets cold, those in the animal business begin to see just how many homeless cats exist in each of Rhode Island’s communities.

In 2005, Rhode Island’s Volunteer Services for Animals worked hard to have required cat spaying and neutering municipal legislation passed in four Rhode Island cities and Towns. East Providence, Lincoln, Warwick, and soon East Greenwich will all require cat owners to take responsibility for their pets.

Jamestown needs the same type of legislation. Although it may have been fine to have lots of cats living on the many farms that used to exist on our island, that is not the case today.

I know of at least 27 cats, currently available for adoption on Jamestown. These cats are either being fostered, available through the Humane Society and PawsWatch, or being fed by people who “really don’t own them.” Each week we get at least three to four calls from people who tell us a cat has just shown up at their home looking for food.

Where do they come from?

On a happy note, two of the island cats for adoption have found new homes in the past week.

Sweet Pea, the cat with a frost bitten ear, and Foot, who lost his leg to some type of leg-hold trap, have both been lucky enough to find owners willing to give them love. For over a month, Sweet Pea’s new owners came weekly from Massachusetts to visit her until they moved into their new home last week.

And, only in Jamestown would a hand surgeon and his girlfriend offer to take the cat with an amputated leg.

That my friends, is why the new animal shelter will be a success in Jamestown.

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