|By Katelyn Gendron|
Reminder Assistant Editor
WESTFIELD On July 1, the rescued animals of Westfield will be without homes once again.
On June 30, the city's contract with the town of Southwick to shelter each animal for 30 days, or until the animal is placed in a home, will have expired. The location of the city's new shelter has yet to be determined.
Grossly aware of the growing trend of abandoned animals in Westfield, the members of Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., a non-profit organization, have taken matters into their own hands by working to establish a no-kill animal shelter by June 30.
In an interview with Reminder Publications, Kenneth Frazer, Westfield's Animal Control Officer, also president of Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., explained that the Southwick shelter does not guarantee that the animals will not be euthanized after living at the shelter for 30 days. He said he's housed approximately 100 animals at the Southwick shelter so far this year.
"We're trying to raise funds for the no-kill animal shelter so the animals will have half a chance," Laura Maceyka, director of Public Relations for Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., said. "It's important [to our organization] that we bring [the animals] in, give them training, medicate them [if ill] and get them ready to be somebody's pet. It's not their fault where they've ended up."
Joanne Perry, treasurer of Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., said despite their original intentions, they have been unable to raise the funds for the new shelter by June 30. So far the organization has raised $45,000 but requires $400,000 to build the shelter.
To raise additional funds, the members of Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., will be conducting their next fundraiser, "Quarter Mile," from May 30 to June 1 at the Holyoke Mall, 50 Holyoke St., Holyoke.
The "Quarter Mile" fundraiser seeks to gather an entire mile's worth of quarters by Sunday at 6 p.m. One mile of quarters equals $15,840. Mile markers will also be set up to show the progress of the fundraiser, which begins on May 30 at 10 a.m.
Maceyka noted that the organization has also planned many more fundraisers throughout the year in order to ensure that the shelter is established sooner rather than later. Other fundraisers include a Motorcycle Poker Run on June 21 and a golf tournament at Oak Ridge Golf Club in August.
Perry explained that once established, the shelter will continue to promote education and awareness about spaying and neutering pets. "Animals are helpless and they're innocent and they're kind of dealt the fate they have. They don't ask to be born and it's because of society's ignorance that people don't spay and neuter their animals."
Perry noted that eight to 12 million animals enter shelters each year and four to eight million are euthanized.
She explained that Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., would only condone euthanasia because of an animal's failing health as directed by a veterinarian.
Perry said the organization will continue to raise funds until they are able to open the doors of the shelter not only for the animals in Westfield but in the surrounding areas.
Donations to Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., can be mailed to P.O. Box 1815, Westfield, MA 01086. Donations can also be made online at the organization's Web site.
For more information about Animal Shelter Renovation Inc., or the organization's upcoming events, go to their Web site at www.helphomelessanimals.com.