Due to COVID-19, we’ve canceled our public events and all clinic services until further notice. Please check our calendar for specific details. Other programs and services continue to the extent possible.
We are desperately short on foster homes. Our current fostering volunteers are doing an awesome job, but they can’t do it alone.
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Fostering for the PGSPCA is a little like bringing home a new pet. There are certainly challenges, but rewards come as kisses and wiggles. Former PGSPCA Adoption Coordinator, Sandy Twigg, explains, “The Prince George’s County shelter, where most of our animals come from, is a public shelter and is frequently filled to capacity. The shelter is often forced to euthanize perfectly adoptable dogs and cats for space. All these animals need is a little time and some TLC in foster care to find the forever home they deserve.” Research has shown that most foster volunteers are recruited through friends and family. So make this your mission for August. Ask your sister! Ask your neighbor! Ask the guy in the cubicle next to yours! Point them to our website, forward them this e-newsletter, or share our Facebook link with them. If you are interested in fostering, send us an email. One of our volunteers will contact you to go over program details, answer any questions, and help you get started in rescue!
As an all-volunteer organization, the importance of our volunteers cannot be stressed enough. Without them, the PGSPCA simply would not exist.
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From foster families, program coordinators, and shot clinic crew to board members, our social media team, and administrative help—volunteers are the PGSPCA. To all of our volunteers, thank you! As we grow, we are always finding new positions that need to be filled and new tasks that need accomplishing. Here are a few projects that we are currently looking for help with:
- Photography for our website, social media, and print materials
- Posting our events with print and online media outlets
- Adoption show ambassadors to greet show attendees and help answer questions
- Creating short videos of each adoptable animals
- Adoption followup (corresponding with former adopters)
These are just a few of the items we need assistance with. We will continue to highlight volunteer needs in upcoming e-newsletters. If these (or future!) tasks match your interests, send us an email and we can match you up with the right team member.
Just before the last snowstorm, we got word of some stray beagles on a farm in southern PG county.
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The property owners had been feeding them for a few weeks, but were moving soon and didn’t want to leave them uncared for. So one of our volunteers went out to help. Originally, there were three beagles coming to eat, but one of them had been limping and hadn’t been seen for a while. We were thinking the worst for that beagle, but by pure luck, our volunteer got lost trying to find the house and spotted the missing dog wandering along the side of the road. With lots of hot dogs, she managed to lure the beagle closer and got a leash on her. One down, two to go! Our volunteer soon found the house and with the residents, went looking for the other two. At first there was no sign of the two remaining beagles and the search party was a little discouraged, but all of a sudden, one of the beagles was walking alongside them. She was super friendly and very easy to leash up. Two down, one to go! The last beagle was then spotted in the distance. She was reluctant to get too close, but decided to be brave when she saw her friend gobbling down hot dogs. Although she would take hot dogs from the volunteer’s hand, she wouldn’t allow a leash to be put over her head. Luckily, she was willing to follow her leashed friend onto an enclosed porch and our volunteer managed to catch her there. Our vets have checked and treated a few minor issues, but the beagles are in good shape overall. After the required stray hold, no owners have turned up, so we’re now looking for their new home. Check out these beautiful girls, and watch for more updates!
Have you met Judy McClain? Most likely, no. And yet, she forms the backbone of one of the most established and critical branches of our organization.
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Serving as PGSPCA Cruelty Program Coordinator since 1997, Judy’s work is tightly focused on her primary interest—the humane treatment of animals.
Cruelty & Abuse Emergencies
Judy handles all of the cruelty and emergency calls that come into the PGSPCA system on a 24-hour basis. These calls come from the public through a live answering service (emergencies) as well as our regular phone lines (non-emergencies). After referring each of these calls to the Prince George’s County Animal Management Division or other appropriate regional authority, Judy follows up on every case to assure that the calls are handled properly and given closure. Judy assists Animal Control by gathering information and joining them in the field when necessary to verify complaints and locations. Due to budget restraints, animal control authorities in our region are notoriously understaffed. Judy’s role helps expedite the investigative process. “I really refer to myself as a cruelty caseworker. We don’t go out in the field that often to check on cruelty cases. Usually it is to look for missing pets or to verify an address for a cruelty,” Judy explained. In addition to fielding cruelty calls, Judy also handles inquiries regarding lost and found pets, owner surrenders, injured wildlife, strays, and miscellaneous matters like dog bites.
Animal Advocacy and Legislation
While those of us inside the PGSPCA may nott know Judy, our County legislators certainly do! Judy keeps up with county and state legislative matters, attending the County’s Commission for Animal Control hearings twice a month to observe and give input on the operations. She was a member of a work study group formed by the Department of Environmental Resources that began in 1998 to review and make changes to our Animal Control Ordinance, and review the HSUS’s evaluation of the County’s animal control facility. Based on committee recommendations, changes became effective in September of 2001. Judy served on a 3-year County Council Task Force (2002-2005) evaluating the effectiveness of existing legislation and administrative regulations concerning vicious animals, and advising the County Council on needed improvements and amendments.
A Record of Service
Judy has been active in animal welfare since 1976, assisting the Prince George’s County Humane Society with their low-cost spay neuter program. Since joining our organization in 1986, Judy served as cat adoption coordinator for seven years, during which she conducted our first in-store pet adoption fair. Judy has also served on our Board of Directors for the last 13 years. In 2000, the American Veterinary Medical Association presented Judy with a certificate in recognition of her work toward improving the humane treatment of animals. Judy was named 2003 Prince George’s Volunteer of the Year by the Prince George’s Volunteer Center in recognition for “unselfish dedication and personal commitment through volunteerism”. She was presented a proclamation certificate by Peter A. Shapiro, Prince George’s County Council Chairman and Council Vice Chair Tony Knotts. Our deepest thanks to Judy for her generous 27 years of service to our organization!
Whether it’s the slow economy or just the “dog days of summer”, our foster adoptions have slowed to a crawl over the last few months.
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We don’t have many foster homes as it is, and when we’re not placing many for adoption, we can’t save any new animals from the shelter, where they are at serious risk of being euthanized. “The shelter has so many animals with sad histories. Because we have so few foster homes right now, their futures are not bright. It’s very difficult to go to the shelter and see so many dogs and cats that we can’t take into our program,” says Margie Dowsett, PGSPCA Foster Coordinator. Our volunteers have been hard at work marketing our animals and meeting potential adopters at the weekly adoption events, but our 2013 adoptions are down by 40% from the same period in 2012. While we are still helping the animals of Prince George’s County in other ways, this is one area in which we’re feeling pinched. In addition to adoption events, PGSPCA foster animals are featured on our website, on Petfinder.com, and through various TV appearances. But with your help, we can do even more. Please consider checking these listings a few times a week to see if we have the perfect pet for your family. Then, share our pet photos and bios on your Facebook page and Twitter feed. You never know who might be looking for a new best friend, and you could help make the perfect match!