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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Q5: Angel Tree helps homeless animals

  • Cindy Dressler is the Leavenworth Animal Control supervisor.
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  • Cindy Dressler is the Leavenworth Animal Control supervisor.
    1. Cindy can you tell us about the purpose of the Leavenworth Animal Control's Pet Shelter Angel Tree and how it enables patrons to help homeless animals?
    The Pet Shelter Angel Tree is a seasonal event that brings the welfare of the homeless pet animal population and the community together for the well-being of both.
    The tree originated as a means to supply cats and dogs under the care of Animal Control with stress-reducing and comfort items like toys and soft bedding to those animals that were being kenneled at the shelter.
    These items have been generously donated by the public each year and are beneficial to all.
    2. What sort of items are in short supply at the shelter that people might not be aware are so badly needed on a daily basis?
    Kennel enrichments are certainly on the top of the wish list.
    Behavioral and environmental enrichment techniques are an integral part of finding the balance for each animal in an effort to reduce stress and introduce change into a static environment.
    The end goal is to provide a balanced animal that in return becomes a better adoption prospect.
    Examples of some of these items are interactive toys that help to stimulate the mind and provide variety for the kenneled animal. Name brands of some of these items include Buster Cubes, Kongs, and Booda Ropes, etc.
    Some are designed to be filled with peanut butter, biscuits or other treats meant to keep an animal entertained and stimulated for lengthy periods of time.
    An often overlooked item is laundry detergent. As another enrichment item, bedding is used in the kennels to bring comfort to those in need.
    That bedding has to be cleaned and sanitized. We do laundry every day here at the shelter.
    Kitty litter is always welcome. Although the city does provide for this item in the budget, we can never seem to have too much litter on hand.
    We use the simple, non-clumping form which is very inexpensive and available in most stores.
    Sometimes, it's the simple things we need, like paper towels. It would surprise people how many rolls we can go through on any given day.
    We also accept donations of gently used dog houses.
    These are provided free to community members who need a dog house but may not otherwise have the means to obtain one.
    We normally have a steady supply of used soft goods like towels, blankets, sheets and other items.
    When we find we have more than we can use or store, these items are forwarded and welcomed to organizations like Operation Wildlife. All donations are accepted and appreciated.
    Page 2 of 3 - 3. The shelter also needs assistance with donations for vaccinations, veterinary visits and medications. If someone in the community wanted to help out in as many ways as possible, what would you advise them to do?
    Donated monetary gifts are handled by LAWS (Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society) and utilized for these expenses.
    The donor needs to indicate that the monetary gift be allocated for Leavenworth Animal Control.
    The donation can be dropped off or mailed to Leavenworth Animal Control or LAWS.
    Donations are utilized for vaccinations and medications that go above and beyond what our budget provides.
    By accepting these funds, the end result is that our population of animals becomes more healthy and adoptable instead of being euthanized.
    We are behind the eight ball because of the shelter being flooded last year.
    Our Pet Angel Tree was packed away in a storage container because we had evacuated our facility for seven months when the Missouri River flooded in 2011.
    We are feeling the crunch this year because of that.
    4. How many years has the Angel Tree been featured at the shelter and how has the response from the public been? Do children find it a fun idea?
    This is the eighth year for the Pet Shelter Angel Tree at Animal Control.
    The response from the public has led to an overwhelming success every year.
    The citizens feel empowered by their donations as they become a part of the solution to provide care for homeless animals.
    So many times we hear "If I could take them all, I would." In reality, everyone realizes no one person can take them all.
    By having the Pet Shelter Angel Tree, donations provide the means for those who want to help, but can't adopt.
    In this way, Leavenworth area citizens assist in the provisions for homeless pets in our care.
    The Tree provides a great means to teach children about compassion for animals and to provide an educational opportunity regarding the needs of sheltered animals.
    It also widens their vision and provides the opportunity for them to understand the social aspects of why and how animals end up homeless.
    5. Do you think that the generosity of community members in helping to ensure that the homeless animals get what they need will extend this year to more dog and cat adoptions?
    Absolutely! The generosity of the community members is directly reflected in various ways.
    We do the very best that we can in keeping all of the animals in our care as healthy as possible.
    This entails providing various vaccinations to not only keep each animal healthy, but overall, the entire shelter population healthy.
    Page 3 of 3 - Good care requires quality food for each animal. Good care requires veterinary care for the animals that are sick or injured.
    Good care requires each animal being provided enrichments to try to keep them mentally stimulated and provide as much exercise as is possible inside of a kennel.
    For the dogs, it also includes enrichments in the outdoor exercise yards. The business of Animal Control is always a challenge.
    As a code enforcement division operating through the Leavenworth Police Department, we have a constant intake of animals from the field as well as animals being surrendered by their owners.
    It is also a challenge to balance our annual budget while ensuring that every adoptable animal is provided with what is needed.
    This is why the Pet Shelter Angel Tree was created.
    The public's generosity helps to fill the void between what our budget affords and what a happy, healthy animal needs.
    After all, a happy and healthy animal is normally the perfect prospect for adoption.
    — Rimsie McConiga

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