Citing a shortage of adoptable dogs on Martha’s Vineyard and a surplus of them in America, Leslie Hurd petitioned the Oak Bluffs selectmen for the use of the currently vacant Oak Bluffs animal shelter to house imported orphaned dogs.
“There’s a shortage of dogs on-Island,” said Ms. Hurd at Tuesday night’s selectmen’s meeting. “The shelter only takes on-Island dogs. There are rarely dogs up for adoption.” Selectman Greg Coogan agreed, citing his own difficulty in finding an Island hound to adopt.
Ms. Hurd has worked to rescue homeless canines for more than 25 years. She’s on the board of the Pet Adoption and Welfare Service and has also started rescuing dogs on death row in St. Thomas and St. Croix, where she often goes for business. She’s rescued more than 200 Cruzian dogs in two years.
“All dogs are inoculated for rabies and are tested for parvo and tick disease,” she said, adding that there are no pit bull or pit bull mixes and most of the dogs are under 20 pounds. “We spend $400 to $500 per dog before they arrive here.”
“Right now I use foster homes only on the Vineyard,” said Ms. Hurd. “Every dog that I’ve brought to the Island is adopted, on average, in five to 10 days.”
Ms. Hurd said dogs would still be in foster homes when available, and the shelter would be used to show them on weekends.
Town administrator Robert Whritenour, referring to the town’s procurement procedure, said the facility would have to go out for bid. He offered to write a request for proposal and to share it with the board to get the ball rolling for future Fidos.
The board was receptive to the idea, pending the potential cost and liability to the town.