It’s not surprising to learn that many abandoned and neglected animals often tossed to the roadside don’t have a very long life expectancy. What’s also not surprising is that locally, without a shelter or safe haven established, the life expectancy of stray animals is drastically reduced. Rather than go to a shelter and possibly be adopted by a loving family, most of these animals are euthanized. According to Brady Police Chief John Stewart, it’s not uncommon for animals to be put to sleep just three short days after being picked up by the local animal control officer. “We’re not prepared to handle these animals,” said Stewart. “Our limited budget restricts us from providing them with shelter. “There are, however, a lot of people who have expressed an interest in starting an animal shelter to house these animals. We simply need someone to follow through with those intentions. With what the city picks up weekly, we could certainly keep a shelter supplied.” Answering the call of concerned citizens and animal lovers across the community, Brady’s pet grooming business, Snip and Clip is spearheading a project to do just that. “We’re trying to get all animal lovers interested in starting a shelter for these animals,” said Nancy Tetrault, owner of Snip and Clip. “We are asking anyone who is interested in helping us get this project off the ground to give us a call at 597-1368.” After looking for resources to help fund the shelter, Mrs. Tetrault discovered that there are several ways to earn program money through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). “If established, this shelter has got to be a team project,” she added. “If I had a lot of money and a place in the country, I could do it independently, but that’s not the case.’ ‘As a bonus, Snip and Clip would even help groom these animals and make them more presentable so that they’d have a better chance of being adopted. “You have to have a place to keep these animals as well as food and water for their dietary needs. It will take the effort of several people to get a shelter up and running. But working as a team and a concerned community, it’s a goal that is attainable. “Even if we could get foster pet-parents to house the animals until a shelter can be established, it’s a step toward finding a loving home for abandoned animals,” said Mrs. Tetrault. On the City’s end of the leash, animal control officer John Russell added, “I’ll help as much as I can. I’m the only officer in the city that deals with animal control and it’s a job that definitely keeps me on my toes. “There is a lot of interest in Brady, but what we need is someone who’s willing to take the bull by the horns. It’s going to take a lot of money, both personal and grant money. “I’ve got the hardest job I’ve ever had in my life. People don’t realize the number of animals that I pick up and distribute to the pound each week. On the average I get 20-25 percent of those animals adopted out each year, but with a town of only 5,000 people, that number gets smaller and smaller each year. “Pet owners are not aware that they can be fined up to $500 on a Class’C Misdemeanor for allowing their animals to run loose. “According to the Brady City Ordinance, I can only hold animals for three days. It’s never fun to have to pick and choose which animals have to go first,” he explained. Since 1866 the ASPCA has been committed to alleviating pain, fear and suffering in all animals. The ASPCA promotes humane principles and prevents cruelty to animals through nationwide information, awareness and advocacy programs. Founded by Henry Bergh, the ASPCA is the oldest humane organization in America, and one of the largest hands-on animal welfare organizations in the world. The organization believes that humans have the ability and the responsibility to provide all animals in our society with an existence that is as peaceful and respectful as possible. Offered by the ASPCA, the following is a list of 10 things to think about before starting a program: ‘ Assess the needs of your community Every community is different. Look into your community’s demographics’check with the local Chamber of Commerce or public library. Find out what specific animal-related problems your community is experiencing. Learn about your educational system. Find out who your community leaders are. The more you know about your community, the more appropriate program you will develop. ‘ Assess the needs of your organization Decide on your organizational focus and goals. What is your mission’ How will an educational program fit in with it’ Does your board of directors approve’ There are different kinds of educational programs: do you want to develop a program about your shelter and public health issues or do you want to develop a program exclusively for kids’ ‘ Assess your organizational resources Who will coordinate your program’ Will you use staff members or volunteers’ What will be in the job descriptions’ What type of training will you provide’ What qualifications will you require’ How much time can you devote to the program’ ‘ Develop a strategy Brainstorm and document your ideas. Write up a comprehensive plan. Develop short and long-term goals and objectives. ‘ Create a budget What are your financial resources’ How much money can you commit to the program’ Be clear about your limitations. Consider all related expenses, such as salaries, printing, mailing and transportation. ‘ Identify materials and resources Don’t reinvent the wheel. Network with other organizations. Gather existing materials and modify them for your own use. ‘ Develop a program Refer back to your strategy. Who is your audience’ What materials are available that are age appropriate and relevant’ What new materials do you need to develop’ How will you evaluate the success of your program’ ‘ Partner with members of your community Identify your community leaders. Help them understand your program. Listen to their suggestions and ideas. Create an advisory board. ‘ Partner with other organizations Find out what related programs exist in your community. Think beyond other animal organizations: think about service clubs, museums, libraries, schools and even local businesses. You might not need to start your own program; you might be able to participate in an already existing program. ‘ Gain the support of your community Develop public relations and fund-raising plans. Create promotional materials. Work with your local press and service clubs. Apply to foundations and corporations for funding.