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'New' Shelter Director Hopes Pledge Party Will Address Critical Needs

Sept 7, 2006 — The St. Croix animal community once again has a champion in Mary Edwards. A founding member of the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, Edwards has now reassumed control of the facility.
A part of the community since 1968, Edwards has been with the shelter for the past 27 years. She tried to retire but was called back to duty when the previous director left. Edwards has now taken on the title with grace and determination.
Her current focus is the condition of the more than 30-year-old shelter. "I'd like to see the shelter in better physical condition," she said, emphasizing that down the line she hopes to have a new shelter built. For now, Edwards simply wants the shelter to be made "more comfortable and safe for the animals."
The shelter houses dogs and cats, primarily, but is currently home to some surrendered guinea pigs. The condition of the building is less than desirable. Holes in the ceiling, faulty wiring on the kennels and common wear-and-tear issues have become a large concern.
To help meet current needs, the shelter is holding its annual Pledge Party on Sept. 30 at the Buccaneer Hotel. Residents and pet lovers are urged to attend the party and contribute money, services or time to the shelter. "If [residents] can't afford to make a monetary donation," Edwards offered, "they may be able to donate paint, wires for kennels, plumbing assistance or structural repairs."
Edwards said residents wanting to adopt a pet should consider their surroundings when choosing their new family member. The shelter asks if you rent a home or apartment to make sure your landlord accepts pets on the property. Shelter employees will ask questions to ensure you are placed with the right pet. After filling out a simple application, potential pet owners will pay $55 for dogs and $45 for cats (adoption fees include spaying or neutering, vaccinations, worming and licensing); while guinea pigs are $10 a piece. Anyone who surrenders an animal for any reason will not be charged.
The shelter also provides low-cost vouchers for pet owners who want to spay or neuter their animal. The vouchers cost $25 for male cats, $35 for female cats, $50 for female dogs, and $40 for male dogs. The animal, along with the voucher, must then be taken to a veterinarian for the procedure.
Lost or stray animals picked up by the shelter are placed on a list notifying all residents the animal has been found and is at the shelter. Owners may contact the shelter, the Department of Agriculture, or check the local veterinarian's office for the posting.
Lost or impounded animals with name tags can easily be traced back to their owners. However, the shelter can only keep an animal for five days before putting the animal up for adoption. Tagged animals whose identification is not clearly printed are kept for three days before being put up for adoption. "Any animal in good condition will be put up for adoption after the time period we are allowed by law," Edwards stated, adding a severely aggressive animal may not be adopted and may need to be euthanized.
For further information on how you can assist the shelter and its residents, please contact St. Croix Animal Welfare at 778-1650. To be a part of the Sept. 30 pledge party, contact Buccaneer Hotel at 773-0010.
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