2010-04-01 / Letters to the Editor

A ‘gentler’ approach to animal control

Last Monday evening, it was standing room only at the budget workshop meeting at the Town Hall. Almost every person wore red – a shirt, a ribbon, whatever – but the message was clear: We all wanted to support Cathy Gregory in her role as the animal control offi cer (ACO).

We listened to Bruce Keiser’s talk on saving money by reducing “services” provided by the town, but this is not a “service” that needs to go. Jamestown is a town of people who care about each other, and we care about our pets and the wildlife that shares our island.

There is a clear and documented need for an animal control officer, and judging by the information provided by Mr. Keiser, maybe there is room for more than one. To assume that the police department can assume these duties is presumptuous at best. Several people inquired about the cost to have North Kingstown take over some of the duties. I believe that the answer was “nominal” – so how much is that?

The Press has reported more than one incident involving residents in need of help with their pets, and the response from the police was that it wasn’t their responsibility. Yet it was clearly stated that it is their responsibility, according to Mr. Keiser, when the ACO is not on duty.

A walk or ride around our island would suggest that a majority of residents own a dog or a cat and they are much loved. I would say that Cathy Gregory knows almost all of them by name and by address. Does she have to raise money for the town by imposing fines, or is a kinder, gentler approach okay in Jamestown?

We say it is.

Those attending this meeting heard it over and over again from fellow Jamestown residents and even those off-island (including a R.I. veterinarian), who praised her compassion and dedication to all animals. The Town Council was elected by the residents of Jamestown, and it needs to hear what we are saying: “We want to keep our animal control officer and keep the character of Jamestown alive for us and for our animals.”
Nancy Crawford
Humane Society of Jamestown

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