Bray Brings Animal Shelter Awareness to Rotarians

by Pat Moynahan on November 7, 2016

animal-shelterFLORENCE – Hedgehogs can be a problem. They are a bit prickly to handle.

Cats can be a problem, too. They tend to proliferate.

That’s the assessment of Colleen Bray, field sergeant for the Boone County Animal Shelter in Burlington.

“Cats are our biggest challenge, especially in the spring and summer,” Bray said. “We get kittens all year long.”

Bray spoke to the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, November 7, about the work of the shelter and help of volunteers in the effort to find homes for cats, dogs and other animals brought there. The animal control team she leads responded to more than 3,500 calls and rescued more than 1,110 animals last year, according to the shelter’s website.

The shelter took in 243 animals last month. “Foster parent” volunteers provide space in their homes temporarily to house those not old enough for adoption. For example, puppies or kittens in a litter are fostered until they are ten weeks old and weigh two pounds.

Foster parents also may house animals recovering from minor ailments or surgery, and animals struggling to adapt to the shelter environment before they are made available for adoption.

“It’s a stressful place for animals” at first, Bray said. “It’s loud. They’re in close quarters. They need some socialization skills.”

The shelter stages a number of promotions in connection with county schools and community events to encourage people to adopt animals from the shelter. For example, Adoption Waggin’ teams take animals to public events throughout Boone County, sometimes making as many as three stops a week.

The shelter typically keeps cats and dogs 1-3 days before taking them out into the community, according to Bray. The hardest to place are older dogs because “they don’t show as well,” she said.

Volunteers lead the Adoption Waggin’ teams and several fund-raising activities. Some also help out in the shelter with chores ranging from working in the office to taking pictures for the web site to exercising the animals. Shelter staff provide classroom and hands-on training for volunteers.

“We need volunteers for everything from desk work to walking dogs to foster parenting,” Bray said.