2006-06-15 / News

By Barbara Szepatowski
After months of discussions, and start dates that have

come and gone, the Jamestown Animal Shelter is back on the Town Council agenda for Monday, June 26.

Last month, I offered the building behind the Town Offices, which had been planned for the animal shelter, to the Jamestown Teen Center. This was a very difficult decision, but in the end, kids have to come before animals.

What many residents do not know is that there is no formal office or meeting center specifically allotted for the kids. The Jamestown Senior Center and grange have been extremely generous to allow Melissa Minto, the teen co-ordinator, to operate the teen programs out of their space. But the kids have no place to permanently store their stuff (unless we think it's OK for Melissa's car to become a traveling storage locker), bake cookies and make a mess, have a refrigerator, or just sit and talk. Let's get real folks, the kids need their own place. And to set aside any fears about this decision and the plight of the pets, over the winter no animals were turned away for sheltering or placement.

After the May Town Council meeting where this decision was discussed and voted on, I received almost 100 phone calls and e-mails. These messages asked why aren't the kids at the recreation center? What will happen to the animals? And what about the donations pledged to date? I cannot answer the question of why the kids aren't at the recreation center. But I can tell you that no animals have been euthanized as a result of this decision. All are spayed or neutered, up to date on their shots, and safe in fostering situations or new homes, thanks to the generosity of Jamestown's animal lovers.

The donations pledged to date are either still with the donors, used to pay for the medical expenses of the adopted or fostered animals, or safe in a bank account. None of the donations would be used for the teen center without the written permission of the donor. Unfortunately, to spay or neuter a cat, test for leukemia and HIV, and complete a full vaccine program costs almost $300 per cat, so we use most of what we receive to make each and every animal healthy and nonproductive.

If you have an interest in the plight of Jamestown's kids or the animals, please attend the June 26, Town Council meeting which starts at 7 p.m. at the Jamestown library. Don't be afraid to speak up and let the Town Council know how you feel. We need to provide a safe gathering or sheltering location for both the kids and the animals. There is no reason that in a town like ours this should even be an issue.

Statewide mandatory

spay/neutering cat legislation

A press release was issued last week heralding the new mandatory spay/neuter legislation that has become law in Rhode Island. It thanked Senator John J. Tassoni, Representative Charlene Lima, Defenders of Animals, Volunteer Services for Animals chapters in Warwick, East Providence and Glouster, Mayor Joseph Larisa of East Providence, the Humane Association of Northwestern RI, Paws & Claws of Jamestown, and Friends of the Smithfield Animal Shelter. If you ever think you cannot make a difference as one person or as a small organization, this new law proves that is not the case. We were proud to have played a small role in the passage of this bill, which is desperately needed to help stop the killing of unwanted cats. Let's face it, if they aren't born, they won't be euthanized if there isn't a home for them. Effective January 1, 2007, all cats must be spayed or neutered by the time they reach six months of age. Breeders are exempt but must register as such.

Opponents felt the bill was unenforceable and would result in more animals being relinquished because people could not afford the cost of sterilization. Low cost spaying and neutering clinics already exist for this purpose, and sometimes a law is needed for just-incase circumstances. We all believe this bill will help lower the number of 2,000-plus unwanted cats euthanized each year in Rhode Island. If you live in Jamestown and have a cat that has not been spayed or neutered due to financial reasons, please call Paws & Claws, and we will help you find an affordable option.

Time for a new pet?

Paws & Claws can help you find a puppy, dog, kitten, cat, ferret, gerbil, or guinea pig. Just call us and, sadly, we can direct you to all of the above.

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