Four-legged friends

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 25, 2005

PETA visits shelter monthly to spay and neuter animals

By Jason Norman

Watching over the area’s unclaimed four-legged residents carries quite a set of duties, said Harry White, acting chief animal control

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officer for the Suffolk Animal Control Shelter.

&uot;We come in and clean the shelter and give animals fresh water,&uot; said White, whose facility currently houses about 15 dogs and cats. &uot;Then we go out on calls.&uot;

About 60 percent of the shelter’s calls deal with strays, he estimates. If an animal is found, it’s brought to the building, and its sex, age, color, weight and disposition are recorded.

Animals without collars are kept for a week, and those with collars are held for 12 days. Then they’re put up for adoption.

&uot;It depends on the type and disposition of the animal,&uot; White said. &uot;We don’t want to adopt any mean animals. When the animals are here, the officers have time to decide if they’re good animals who can be adopted.&uot;

Photos of the animals are posted on the billboard at the Main Street Wal-Mart, and on the city Web site,

Every month, White estimated, between 20 and 30 dogs are given away for an adoption fee of $25. Sometimes, sadly, no one comes to get them.

&uot;Unfortunately, we have to euthanize some of them,&uot; he said. &uot;No one enjoys it, but it’s something we have to do.&uot;

Even after adopting the animals, a new owner’s responsibilities continue. The pet should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. In keeping with a state law,

animals over six months old must be spayed or neutered within 30 days.

Once a month, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) visits the shelter to spay and neuter pets for a discounted price.

&uot;That’s our only association with PETA,&uot; said White, who said that to his knowledge, the shelter had never given pets to Andrew Benjamin Cook and Adria Joy Hinkle, the animal rights group representatives arrested last week on animal cruelty charges.

For more information on adoption, call 923-2160.