Helping Strapped Families Keep Their Pets
- Categorized in: Currents – Past Issues
When Stephanie Moore, of Wesminster, acquired her Great Dane, Levon, eight years ago, she was transformed from a casual animal fan into an an avid pet lover and advocate.
“Levon was an amazing pet,” explained Moore. “He and I had a real understanding. Levon changed my life and now I cannot look at a dog, any dog, without falling in love.”
Then in December, Moore read a newspaper article about families who were forced to give up their pets because they could no longer afford them. “The article made me so sad. I know for my husband and me, our four dogs are like our children,” said Moore. “I cannot imagine having to take them to a shelter or living without them in our home.”
In response to the article, Moore wrote a passionate letter to the editor of the local newspaper and made several suggestions about how to prevent such emotionally devastating losses, including starting a fund that would help people in economic distress to keep and care for their pets.
Audrey Cimino, the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Carroll County, saw her letter. The foundation is an umbrella organization that facilitates philanthropy in our community.
“I read Stephanie's letter and thought she made a great suggestion,” said Cimino. “I called her and told her that we can make it happen. Stephanie expressed some doubts about how to go about it, but I told her not to worry. She has a passion for pets and I know how to get foundations started.”
By early January, Cimino had gathered a group of pet lovers and animal advocates, including business people, realtors, students, educators, private citizens, veterinary staff and others involved with nonprofit organizations, and together they launched Carroll's Pets in Need Campaign.
According to its promotional literature, Carroll's Pets in Need Campaign recognizes the importance of pets within a family and believes that every effort should be made to keep pets in their home. Its purpose is to provide assistance in the form of pet food and supplies to animal owners who are experiencing financial difficulties and are in danger of losing or having to give up their pets.
Although the fund is just a few months old, the response has already been positive.
The organization is circulating fliers at at various events, such as the spring Home and Garden Show and a Bernese Mountain Dog Show. Members of a 4-H Dog Club signed on to help with the project and donations of money, pet food and pet supplies are coming in.
Carroll's Pets In Need Campaign has established distribution points at The Shepherd's Staff in Westminster and at NESAP (Northeast Social Action Program, Inc.) in Hampstead, with plans to expand to other areas in the county. Advisors to the campaign are confident the fund will continue to grow.
To meet the criteria for assistance, families must live in Carroll County and experience significant financial hardships, such as a loss of housing or employment or catastrophic illness. They must complete a simple application and, in most cases, will need a referral from a Carroll County social service agency. Assistance is based on need and the availability of requested items.
For inquiries, to make referrals or donations or to volunteer services, contact Carroll's Pets in Need Campaign through The Community Foundation of Carroll County, 255 Clifton Blvd., Suite 203, Westminster, MD 21157; 410-876-5505; www.carrollcommunityfoundation.org.