FOTAS (Friends of Transylvania Animals) hosted the second gathering, on March 31, 2016, of animal welfare groups in the county to introduce the groups to County Shelter Director Elma Rae Greene. Each group gave a summary of their activities to help see where the groups can work together. The groups included FOTAS (which originally helped raise money for the new shelter, offers low costs spay and neuter vouchers and supports the shelter with volunteers and some capital purchases), The Grateful Dog and Pure Pets (two holistic pet stores), CAAR (Charlies Angels Animal Rescue, which rescues adoptable dogs and cats from shelters and kennels them in Fletcher to place animals locally or transport them to other states), TAAG (Transylvania Animal Alliance Group, a local rescue and foster group), CHAT (holds adoption events for shelter animals, helps coordinate shelter volunteers and is putting together a manual for shelter volunteers), Friends of Life (places senior cats, dogs and special need animals or offers them a home at their hospice and palliative care center), Petfinder (posts photos and descriptions of shelter dogs and cats and posts them on the national website), Transylvania County Pet ID Awareness (raises public awareness of the growing problem of “lost” dogs and cats), and Noah’s ARC (our local spay and neuter clinic on Ecusta Road).
Shelter Director Elma Rae Greene said that the new animal shelter gives all of us an opportunity to better the lives of animals in our country. Her Animal Control Officers will focus on serving the citizens and animals of our country by enforcing local ordinances regarding stray animals, investigating animal cruelty/abuse cases such as starving horses or chained dogs, and providing information and protection against possible rabies and other communicable diseases. She is understaffed and thanked the groups who provide volunteers to help her socialize the animals, provide assistance in the clinic, and work the front desk welcoming visitors. She said the county continues to rely on volunteer groups for “extras” such as dog collars and flexi leashes, higher quality litter pans, and clippers.
Greene’s proposal to form a coalition of all the animal welfare groups to coordinate efforts was met with unanimous approval. The coalition will meet once a month to ideas such as setting up a joint website and sharing information on items which are donated to the shelter. Greene announced that the County Animal Shelter plans to have an open house to commemorate the shelter’s third year of operation on August 6 to which all are invited. Two groups – the Humane Society Thrift store (has cats for adoptions) and Transylvania County Lost Pets (posts notices of lost pets on their Facebook page) will also be invited to join the coalition.