Originally created 08/05/99

Residents volunteer to help animal shelter



Richmond County Animal Control will get help in its efforts to find homes to adopt some of the homeless animals that end up there.

About 30 people have volunteered to help the staff and the Animal Control Advisory Board improve the facility. Nine people called animal control Director Jim Larmer to offer their help, after a recent news article about the number of unwanted animals destroyed there last year.

Other volunteers called board members Sally Manning and Julie Tillery offering assistance, Ms. Manning said.

Four of those volunteers -- and Augusta Commissioner Bill Kuhlke -- showed up for Wednesday's meeting to volunteer to help with an October open house. The board hopes to improve the shelter's image and visibility.

One of the volunteers, Lorna Roule, said she wants to help because she is an animal lover and has experience in volunteering to work with animals.

"I'm here to do whatever they ask me to do," Mrs. Roule said. "This is a good shelter. It needs all the help it can get."

Ms. Manning said she had received about 25 phone calls from people wanting to volunteer to help at the shelter or push for an ordinance that would require animal owners to buy annual licenses.

Augusta Commissioner Freddie Handy proposed such an ordinance last year, but other commissioners rejected the idea.

The cost of such licenses are $3 to $5 for spayed or neutered animals and $15 to $25 for those that are not, which provides an incentive for pet owners to have their animals fixed.

Many counties and cities require annual permits and strictly enforce the ordinance which helps keep down the number of stray and unwanted animals.

For example, in consolidated Columbus-Muscogee with a population similar to that of Augusta's at 187,000, animal control destroyed 6,568 dogs and cats -- more than 4,000 fewer than at the Richmond County center.

The city of Aiken also requires annual licensing. The cost is $5 for neutered or spayed animals and $15 for others.