Animal Welfare Supporters Meet To Discuss Goals
Making true on her promise to rally local residents and neighboring humane societies and animal shelters, Fort Littleton resident Karen Croft spearheaded a meeting last week, with the nearly three dozen in attendance being vocal as well as supportive of fighting animal neglect and cruelty.
With representatives on-hand from Better Days Animal League, Bedford County Humane Society and Greener Pastures, Croft was very clear in pointing out the purpose of the September 30 gathering was not to show favoritism to a particular animal shelter or where you volunteer your time.
“We support everyone,” noted Croft, who added her approach to animal cruelty was both short and long term as well as pie in the sky.
As a recap to a September town meeting with the Fulton County commissioners where she first publicly broached the topic of animal cruelty, Croft told the crowd that animal enforcement officer Dennis Bumbaugh is currently volunteering his time to investigate cases in county. Bumbaugh is associated with the Better Days Animal League in Shippensburg.
Croft urged those in attendance to support the efforts of Bumbaugh and Better Days for their work done locally. In that capacity, Croft said a tent will be set up at The Barn just north of Mc- Connellsburg along Route 522 during the Fulton Fall Folk Festival next weekend. Those manning the tent will be distributing information on education and awareness and spearheading a raffle with proceeds benefitting Better Days.
The group and Croft then heard suggestions from Better Days volunteer Bertha Mathis and Todd Gates, president of the Bedford County Humane Society. Shortand long-term goals agreed upon include setting up a core committee of volunteers; establishing a foster-care network for animals; networking for strays; increasing education and awareness; locating a temporary kennel for holding animals; establishing a 501(c) (3) to eventually have a nonprofit animal rescue in county; and developing a business plan/model.
Gates stated his organization currently follows an “extended care” business model, which can impair its ability to take on additional animals. Sixty percent of the animals at the Bedford County shelter originate from Fulton County, he noted.
“I don’t want to muddy the waters,” said Gates. “You have to be very patient. Rescues want to know about you and your models.”
Meanwhile, Samantha Frey of Greener Pastures explained that her group is in the process of obtaining a lease to purchase agreement for land in county. Paperwork for a 501(c) (3) has also been filed with the IRS by Greener Pastures to obtain nonprofit status.
Frey concluded her organization will also be setting up a display booth at the Fulton Fall Folk Festival just outside the fairgrounds.
The group was encouraged to enlist the help of local businesses, state officials and to widen the search for available funding. Those in attendance were Mary Ann Books, Dennis Bumbaugh, Cathy Creager, Michelle Cubbage, Commissioner Craig Cutchall, Jodi Davis, Emily Housekeeper, Susan Huett, Margaret Hughes, Cindy Hull, Gina Knepper, Tamara Mc- Closkey, Sherry Metz, Cheryl Morton, Donald Morton, Larry Mellott, Patti Mellott, Cindy Peck, Panya Peck, Tina Reeder, Wendy Sipes, Jenny Sharpe, Lori Sweeney, Donna Swope, John Thurman Jr., Shari Washabaugh and Deborah Wlaz.
A follow-up animal welfare meeting has been scheduled for Monday, October 11, beginning at 6:30 p.m., to prepare for the Fall Folk Festival and keep the animal welfare discussion flowing. The meeting will be conducted in the basement of St. Stephen Catholic Church located at 303 Lincoln Way East, McConnellsburg.