Donations match needs of animal shelter
The Animal Shelter of Martha's Vineyard is up and running, funded by $32,700 in donations since the group was formed two months ago.
"It's really gratifying," said Greg Orcutt, a member of the newly formed organization's board of directors. The MSPCA withdrew from operating the shelter on May 1 because of financial constraints, but is leasing the building and equipment to the new group at no cost.
Dukes County manager Russell Smith said donors have been so generous that the shelter is operating without any public funds, to this point. The county is providing administrative support and has agreed to provide necessary funds from its reserve account, with the understanding that Island towns would reimburse the county later.
Inside the Edgartown facility, a fresh coat of paint is on the walls, volunteers are settling into routines, and shelter manager Lisa Hayes is getting records organized on a new computer system.
A playful, rambunctious, and enormous Great Dane tosses a fuzzy play toy. A blue-eyed cat appears puzzled that glass stands between him and the visitor's ankle he wants to rub. A sad-eyed Chihuahua stands up on his hind legs in a pose that says, "Take me home."
"Just like I taught you," said Ms. Hayes with a smile. "That's going to get you out of here."
The shelter is operating on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, open from 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. It is closed to the public Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
The group is planning a day of pet appreciation on June 27 at Sunset Park in Oak Bluffs. Events such as a pet parade and agility demonstrations are in the works.
While cleaning and repairing the facility, volunteers found dozens of bricks stored away. The bricks, inscribed with messages in memory of favorite pets, were part of a fund raising campaign initiated by the MSPCA. The bricks have been installed in front of the front door, and Ms. Hayes said the "buy a brick" fundraising campaign would be revived shortly.
Help for the homeless
Another Island organization is gearing up a fundraising drive. Martha's Vineyard Helping Homeless Animals operates a rescue and home placement organization on June Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Tessa Dahl is the president of the newly reorganized group. "We never euthanize," said Ms. Dahl. "We never release a dog or cat without it being spayed or neutered."