Sunday, December 13, 2009

Protest in Trenton

This just in. Trenton's Animal Shelter is the reason for a demonstration by shelter volunteers and those who support them this Wednesday. At noon, people who believe the shelter should be better staffed and managed for the sake of the animals there will meet at City Hall, Trenton.

Some will be in costume, some will make speeches, some will hold signs ("Honk if you love animals" or "Honk for City Shelter Jobs"). The event aims to call attention to the facility's understaffing and the unsatisfactory conditions there.

According to the volunteers' press release, "Lack of staff leads to animal neglect." They say that a year ago there were six Animal Control Officers (ACOs), three secretaries, one animal attendant and a shelter manager -- a total of 11 people. Now, they say, there are only three ACOs, one secretary and a shleter manager, and because of the cut in staffing, "most of the on-site shelter work is now done by volunteers."

One 10-year volunteer at the shelter, Kristina Wetzel, recalls that the initial job of volunteers was to socialize the animals and help get them adopted. Now, of necessity, they're doing so much more, including keeping the place in compliance with State Health Codes.

Shelter volunteers describe "City Hall" as indifferent to the situation in not filling vacant positions. Meanwhile, they say, Mayor Palmer has just given himself and his staff a 10% raise and the city's business administrator has just created a new position for an acquaintance, paying over $100,000. Either of these moves, says Beverly Kidder, a nine-year shelter volunteer, "could have paid to re-staff the shelter positions."

Check your schedule for Wednesday, Dec. 16, between 12-1, and attend the demonstration if you possibly can. Come and speak for the shelter animals.

(For more information, Kristina Wetzel: 609-509-3248; Beverly Kidder: 609-309-5095.)

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