Patti Ragsdale - Feral Cat Advocate
We would like to salute Patti Ragsdale on behalf of her efforts to care for and reduce the population of feral cats in Sumner County.
Patti has been involved with TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) since 2006. She has humanely trapped, vetted, spay/neutered and returned to their colonies over 250 feral cats. According to Patti, "Sadly there are thousands of cats in Sumner Co. that are not fortunate enough to have access to regular food and water, relying on hunting for scraps to survive and often starving or getting killed in the process. With malnutrition and lack of care comes disease, which takes its own toll". Although she depends heavily on programs that offer free or low-cost S/N or free food, she and her supportive husband spend thousands of their own dollars each year for the protection of animals, both wild and domestic.
Patti is currently monitoring about 10 feral colonies, working with local residents to provide food and feeding two colonies herself. She observes any new unaltered additions in the colonies which results in additional litters. As needed, she traps and arranges for vetting & S/N, often taking in the offspring to socialize and arrange for adoptions through area shelters, pet stores, individuals, etc. ... all at her own cost.
In addition to her efforts as an individual, Patti works closely with Kitty City, a husband/wife team rescue/adoption team who manages a center for kittens, older and special needs cats. Even though her efforts with the ferals are strictly as an individual (not a 501.c3) she appreciates any assistance with cat food or S/N costs and stresses that any donations go 100% back into her efforts caring for the feral cats. (PO Box 290, H'ville, 37075, or she may be contacted at 390-7139). She will also gladly accept any help offered with trapping and transporting cats ... as she says, "I'm only one person and can only do so much. Problems referred to me are many ... offers to help are few"
(What are 'feral' cats? Undomesticated cats living in the wild. Cats start breeding at 5-9 months and can produce 3 litters a year. 'Community cats' are stray cats that are usually cared for by several in-area residents ... not wild, but with no homes. Without the efforts of the "Patti's" in our society, the feral population would be more uncontrolled. Thank you Patti!!!!
While we have many volunteers in our 'animal world' none are more dedicated than Greg Johnson who volunteers at the Safe Place for Animals shelter. Greg volunteers/works 40+ hours every week managing the shelter, thrift shop ... everything. You can find him out walking the dogs, mopping floors, cleaning poop or working behind the cash register ... a man of many jobs. He loves working with the animals and with people alike & is a definite asset to the SPA organization and our animal world.
Ronnie Clouse has been our point-of-contact at Delight Products Co, who makes Kroger brand dog/cat food, for the past two years. Through the generosity of Ronnie and his company, our "Helping Paws" program has been able to supply their donated pet food to our non-profit shelter/rescue groups, our 3 Emergency Pet Food Banks in Sumner County, enabled us to open another much needed pet food bank in Macon County, do pet food distributions at the Sumner County Food Bank each month and several indigent pet owners of multiple rescued pets.
Ronnie has been a vital part of making this possible ... "Ronnie ... we thank you and the animals thank you for helping us help the animals. Bless you and Kroger.
One of our many fine shelter/rescue groups in Sumner County is the Clover For Rover Animal Rescue & Sanctuary. While each of our animal groups is 'special' in it's own way, Clover For Rover is very special to me ... in addition to many adoptable dogs that you would find in any typical shelter, there are also 'special dogs' (also available for adoption) such as "Lobster" pictured here with co-shelter operator, Laura. As a result of birth defects Lobster has no use of his back quarters ... but don't tell Lobster that he is handicapped!! He frolics in the yard with the rest of the dogs and is just 'one of he boys', and as a result of the love and compassion of both Laura and Hollie, is very happy. Among his canine playmates are many others who are 'special ... whether it be cancer, deaf, blind or just 'old' .... those that will live out their lives here with little or no chance of being adopted ... "permanent residents". Instead of kennels they have the freedom of large fenced off yards to play, socialize with their friends, dig holes or simply lay in the sunshine. Thanks to the big hearts of both Laura and Hollie they are all loved ... and happy.
In addition to their special residents Clover for Rover has many other canine friends looking for a new loving home, along with several horses, pigs and cows. Adoption interviews are by appointment only ... adoptable animals are listed on PetFinders.
Clover for Rover, like many of our other non-profit shelter/rescues, is largely dependent on donations to "do what they do" ... to help animals. Veterinarian needs, food (140 lbs of dog food per day, hay for the horses and cattle), flea/tick medication ($600 mo in the summer months) are at times overwhelming. Visit them on FaceBook or their website .... donations are tax deductable and always appreciated.
On Monday, Jan 30th, while walking her two dogs, Ann McManus encountered 9 puppies that had been 'dumped' in Triple Creek Park in Gallatin. Another lady who had discovered the pups asked Ann to call 911. Instead Ann quickly contacted the Safe Place for Animals (SPA) shelter and in spite of being 'full' they made room to take the pups in. Fortunately SPA's on-site veterinarian was on duty and was able to check the little ones out ... the 'runt' was in the worst shape but is now the feistiest of the pack!
The 'icing on the cake'?? Ann is now a 'volunteer' at the SPA shelter. Thank you Ann for taking the extra effort on behalf of the pups!!
The pups are about 5 weeks old and will be soon looking for a ' forever home', free 'puppy breath included'. Contact SPA at 451-7342
Sumner County welcomes the opening of our much needed "low-cost spay neuter clinic". The Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance has done an excellent job of staffing the clinic and you can be assured your animal will be well cared for by an experienced and caring veterinarian staff. Since opening in mid July 2011, the SSNA Clinic has spay/neutered almost 30,000 animals ..... take advantage of the low-cost to have your pet altered, vaccinated and microchiped!!
Dr. Yvette Pennington (left) has been hired as the full time veterinarian. She graduated from LSU School of Veterinary Medice in 2000 and in 2003 moved home to middle Tennessee. She practiced emergency medicine before working at the Animal Care Center where she was the Medical Director since their acquisition by VCA.
Paige Heriges (center) has been a Veterinarian Assistant for 16 years
Tammy Howard (right) has 21 years experience as a surgery assistant.
The clinic is located in Gallatin. Appointments can be made by calling 452-2233
PLEASE HAVE YOUR PET SPAYED/NEUTERED TO HELP REDUCE THE EXCESS ANIMAL POPULATION !!
Some pictures of "Volunteers" helping our animal organizations:
Carol Coale, working the SSNA Yard Sale in Gallatin
Darrel Johnston "walking the dogs" at Sumner County Animal Control. Shar-Pei pictured was waiting to be picked up by a rescue group.
Scott Coale, painting doors at the SSNA spay/neuter clinic
Ken Duncan mowing and maintaining grounds at the Humane Society in Hendersonville.
HELP THE ANIMALS BY VOLUNTEERING !!
For our "Hero" in January, I would like to salute all the animal shelter's/rescue's/organization's leaders/Board members/employees and especially the volunteers ..... you are all "Heroes" in my book!!!! Even though I have only been active in the 'animal world' about 5 years, I have never been privileged to work and interface with a more dedicated bunch of people. You are fine examples of what I refer to as "Animal People"!!
If you are a Board member, you put in countless hours of personal time (and $$) to meet the constant struggle of 'survival' for your organization in a time where grant money is rare and constant 'fundraising events' are required for funding. If you are an employee, you work mainly for the satisfaction and love of animals .... you don't make big bucks and often work without benefits. For the volunteers ... no organization could survive without your help. And recognition should also be given to the countless 'donors' who make it all possible through your generosity and support. One thing you all have in common is a 'love for the animals'. Thank you all for caring and providing for the thousands of animals every year that pass through your groups!!
Charlie & Cheryl Neglia - Avanti Gourmet Restaurant, Hendersonville
Our Hero(es) for the month of December are Cheryl and Charlie Neglia, owners of Avanti Gourmet Restaurant in Hendersonville. Throughout the year they have hosted and donated to numerous fundraising events for many animal causes, including the Humane Society, A Place To Bark and the Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance organizations. Within the restaurant they also run a looped video of the various animals up for adoption and promoting adoption at the county animal control facility. Charlie has arranged through his customers additional support for animal fundraisers. His usual response is, "What do you need?", or "How can I help?".
According to Charlie, they have been involved in over 40 animal rescues throughout the year, from finding homes for animals 'dropped off/abandoned' in the restaurant area or arranging private air transport from animal control to rescue organizations in Florida and New York. He provides free meals and arranges free lodging for the transport crews. Their personal menagerie at home is 4 dogs and 1 cat, all rescues.
Charlie's vision is to form a group listing of all rescues, including those needing various types of 'service animals', such as rescue, cadaver dogs, diabetes, seizure, seeing eye, water rescue, etc, and utilize our county animal control animals as a 'source' to fill those needs and reduce local euthanasia of healthy animals.
Charlie and Cheryl, thank you for your ongoing support of our shelters, animal groups and for the animals themselves. As a supportive business in our community, you are appreciated by many!!
Prisi Selfridge - Friends Of Hannah Rescue, Adoption and Sanctuary
Our Heroine for October is Prisi Selfridge, founder and operator of the Friends Of Hannah Rescue, Adoption & Sanctuary shelter, located at 123 Big Station Camp Blvd in Gallatin. Friends Of Hannah, in operation since 1998, was named after Prisi's constant companion, Hannah (in the picture with Prisi), a rescue from the Sevier County Animal Shelter. Hannah is now 13 years old, a little hard of hearing but still the ever faithful companion she has always been.
The rescue shelter selectively takes in owner surrendered dogs, strays and rescues from the county animal control facility. Since opening, Prisi has found homes for over 700 animals. Like other non profit shelters, Friends Of Hannah has limited kennel space and often has a 'waiting list' for incoming animals and depends on 'turnover' through adoptions to rescue as many animals as possible. Prior to adoption all animals are vaccinated, spayed/neutered, wormed, checked for heart worms, started on heart worm preventative and flea control meds. Additionally, all dogs are micro chipped prior to placement. The shelter offers a "30 day unconditional money back guarantee" on adoptions and also a "foster-to-adoption" program, where you can foster a dog to see if it is a match for your home and lifestyle.
Per Prisi, "I'm excited to see the new animal control facility being built include a low-cost spay/neuter clinic, a proactive approach in helping to control our animal over population. We have way too many animals and not enough homes for them. This is a 100% fixable problem and spay/neutering is the solution, along with mandatory spay/neutering laws which has proven effective in many other communities throughout the country." (Amen!!) Prisi, like many of the other animal people I have had the privilege of meeting, has a "true love" of the animals".
Being a non profit shelter, Friend Of Hannah depends on monetary donations and sponsorships to remain in operation. Donations of dog food, bedding, bleach, paper towels and other supplies are much appreciated and can be dropped off during normal business hours. For more information about Friends Of Hannah, visit their website, "friendsofhannahrescue.org". thank you Prisi for "making a difference" !!
Ronnie Clouse has been our point-of-contact at Delight products Company/Kroger who has assisted our "Helping Paws" program with our donated pet food program. Through the generosity of Ronnie and Kroger/Delight Products, we have been able to supply much needed pet food to our non-profit animal shelters, our 3 Emergency Pet Food Banks in Sumner County, made it possible to open a pet food bank in Macon County. various pet care groups/individuals, incorporate a pet food distribution at our Sumner County Food Bank each month ... "Ronnie, we could not do what we do without you and Kroger/Delight Products ... Thank you for helping us help the animals!!!!!"
Bernie Berlin - A Place To Bark
Within Sumner County we have many people involved with animal welfare; many who 'live and breathe' animals; many who are 'making a difference'. One of those, our September Heroine, is Bernie Berlin, founder of A place To Bark in Portland. If you ever have the chance to talk to Bernie on the phone, chances are she is either at the vet's office, rescuing or transporting animals to adoption centers.
The focus of 'A place To Bark' is to save existing lives so they are not needlessly killed. Bernie transports the majority of the animals rescued to out of state shelters where, because of effective spay/neuter programs, they import dogs to meet their adoption needs. In the south, including our own Sumner County, animals procreate faster than there are adoptable homes and healthy adoptable animals are needlessly euthanized because of the excess population. Per Bernie, "The bottom line is spay/neuter is the only true answer to fixing this homeless animal problem".
A Place To Bark, established in 2001 by Bernie, provides a sanctuary and temporary home for rescued dogs while they are prepared for adoption. The majority of her animals are pulled from high lill shelters in the south. They go through a veterinary exam, starting with a 3 week quarantine period where they are vaccinated, dewormed, heart worm tested, vetted as necessary and psychologically tested. When ready, they receive a certificate of health before being transported to partnering adoption centers who take care of the spay/neutering before final adoption. Twice a month Bernie transports the animals in her van to the Humane Society organizations in Chicago or West Palm Beach (about a 13 hour straight drive .... ever try to check into a motel with 28 dogs??). While West Palm Beach covers some of her transportation costs, Bernie depends on benefactors/donations to cover all other expenses, including her shelter operational costs. Like other shelters in these economic times of 'tight money', continual funding to meet expenses is always in question on a month to month basis.
How has Bernie made a 'difference'? In 2009, she rescued 611 dogs and anticipates to exceed 700 in 2010. Over the past 5 years she has rescued and adopted out over 2000 dogs. The vast majority of these animals would have been euthanized without her intervention. She rescues from animal control agencies and serves as an intake shelter for puppy mill seizures and animals confiscated through cruelty cases by our county animal control, Humane Society Of The United States and ASPCA. She is recognized nationally for her rescue efforts and serves on the ASPCA No Kill Vision Board which will be using her transport program as a model this upcoming year. She is featured and applauded in the fall edition of American Dog Magazine. Bernie has been involved in rescue over 10 years and her goal is "To save existing lives of unwanted animals and to educate the public not to buy from pet stores who in turn buy from puppy mills". Her dream? "That eventually, with spay/neutering programs in place, the needless killing will end and that we will become a 'no kill nation' with a loving home for every animal".
Bernie .... we salute your efforts! You are making a difference and through your personal efforts, many animals now have a loving home with loving owners!! We thank you!!
A place To Bark is a member of the Coalition Of Sumner County Animal Groups (COSCAG) and a link to her website can be found on the 'Member's Page' of this website. Donations to help with her efforts are always appreciated.
Our Heroine for the month of August is Dawn Tomlin of Hendersonville. Dawn has been selected because of her devotion to the animals and her personal efforts in organizing and operating the Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance's free S/N transport service. Since April of 2009, Dawn has personally or supervised the transport of over 425 cats and dogs from Sumner County to low-cost spay neuter clinics either in Lebanon or Franklin, KY. She provides the service, on behalf of SSNA, free of charge, donating her time and paying for her own gas and expenses as do other volunteer helpers. The free transport service is provided twice monthly. The clients only pay for the clinic S/N fees.
Through Dawn's efforts and dedication, she is making a 'difference', a contribution, to lowering the excess companion animal population in Sumner County. Dawn currently serves as Vice President of the Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance (SSNA) and has been a past volunteer for other nonprofit animal shelters, such as Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary and Safe place For Animals. In recent years she was also a recipient of the Tennessee Volunteer Of The Year Award and was also nominated for the Mary Catherine Strobel Award, recognizing her time, talents and energy contributed as a volunteer to the people of Middle Tennessee.
Dawn has been interested in animals all her life. She sold her business and retired 11 years ago so she could work with the elderly and with animals. She and her husband, Ben, have been residents of Hendersonville for over 30 years.
For more information on the free transport service or to make an appointment, visit the SSNA website, http://www.sumnerspayneuter.org/, or call 452-2233.
Sandra Cherry - Humane Society of Sumner County (HSSC)
Our Heroine for the month of July is Sandra Cherry, Hendersonville resident (44 years!) and President of the Humane Society of Sumner County. She has served on the HSSC Board of Directors for the past seven years. As with heads of other shelters, she is a devoted lover of animals and puts in countless hours month after month of unpaid time on behalf on the animals, as she descibes it, "Her call in life". She is always e-mailing, phoning, writing letters, etc, promoting HSSC in any way possible to help raise money for day-to-day operation cost and promoting animal awareness in Sumner County. Sandra can be found in/out of the HSSC adoption center (16 Volunteer Drive, Hendersonville) daily ... shaking hands, greeting folks, promoting HSSC and explaining what people can do to help homeless, unwanted animals in our community.
In addition to her position as President of HSSC, she is Vice-President of the Key To The City Club, member of the Hendersonville Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Hendersonville Church of Christ and has served on numerous non-profit Boards in Sumner County over the years.
One of Sandra's many strengths is 'fundraising' which is essential to the ongoing operation of the adoption center. She is the originator of the Humane Society's annual major fundraiser 'Puttin' on the Dog Gala' and is active in all HSSC fundraising events such as Dining For Dogs, materials & food drives and many other events to support the animals.
HSSC's next large fundraiser and benefit is the 2nd annual 'Pickin For Pets' event, a Country/Bluegrass Concert at the 'The Pick Inn' in Gallatin on Saturday, July 31st. The event features music by Grand Ole Opry artist Jessie McReynolds & the Virginia Boys plus a host of other talented artists, in addition to a silent auction, food catered by Moveable Feast and a Classic Car Cruise-in hosted by the Sumner County Vintage Vehicle car club ..... a great evening of entertainment for only $10 per person. Contact the HSSC (see Member's Page) for ticket information or call 394-8903.
Sandra ..... we (and the animals) 'thank you' for being a true, devoted friend to the animals !!!
Bob Barker, Sumner County Sheriff
With the May 27th groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Sumner County animal control facility and construction already underway, our June 'Hero Of The Month' is our Sumner County Sheriff, Bob Barker. While realizing that the new facility will be the result of combined teamwork of many individuals, including our County Commissioners and County Executive and others, it would not have happened without Sheriff Barker. When the Sheriff's Department was given responsibility of animal control in November, 2008, one of several 'conditions' stipulated by the Sheriff was that a much needed new facility be built that would adequately meet the needs of Sumner County.
Prior to actual takeover of the existing facility, Sheriff Barker required that his new Division of Animal Control staff be fully trained as animal control officers, including being certified as euthanasi technicians to reduce operational costs and lower euthanasia rates. Instead of hiring a veterinarian to come in once a week to perform mass euthanasia (prior practice), animals are now only euthanized on a 'as needed' basis due to overcrowding and health issues. The euthanasia rate for the first 5 months of 2010 was 54.2% which is low for an animal control facility. Staff focus is on alternatives to euthanasia: working closely with rescue groups (26.8%), increasing adoption rates (10.5%) and promoting spay/neutering to lower companion animal populations.
According to Sheriff Barker, "We have made some significant improvements to reduce the abandoned and abused animal population in Sumner County durin the past 18 months but there is still much to be done. I believe the successes the Sheriff's Office Animal Control Division has been experiencing is directly related to the support and cooperative efforts of the public, the private animal rescue associations and the city, county and state organizations working together. Education and awareness is a key compnent to making the necessary changes and we encourage everyone to become involved in the process".
Sheriff Barker has demonstrated a willingness to work with all animal groups within the county to address animal welfare issues. He actively supports animal related fundraisers and activities. He is completing his first term (4 yrs) as our County Sheriff and is running unopposed in elections later this year. Sheriff Barker .....we salute you and welcome working with you in your new term !!!!!
June McMahon - Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance
Our Hero for May (or should I say "Heroine") is June McMahon of Gallatin, current President and Founder of the Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance (SSNA). June has been active in animal welfare for the past 38 years. She has worked, volunteered, studied and learned from hands on experience the many aspects of animal welfare including animal control, sheltering, spaying and neutering, euthanasia, cruelty investigation, working with the public, working with state legislators and being a member of and serving on the Board of several professional organizations. June is a well respected professional in the animal welfare industry and has an extensive network of associates both locally and national.
June was the original founder of the Humane Society of Sumner County in 1974, has been on the Board of the Tennessee Humane Association since 1976, serves on the Legislative Committee for the Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee (C.A.I.T) and also serves on the Animal Friendly License Plate Grant Committee. She worked with the Spay Station of Wilson County for several years when it came to Sumner County and has worked at both the Fix For Life low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Lebanon and at the Fix Foundation in Franklin, Kentucky. Working there has rounded out her knowledge and given her the experience necessary to establish and operate a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Sumner County.
In 2009, June gathered several other like-minded animal advocates and formed the SSNA non-profit organization. She has worked very closely with and partnered with Sumner County officials on incorporating a "low-cost spay/neuter clinic" in the new Sumner County Animal Control facility which will hopefully open in late 2010. The mission of SSNA is to eliminate the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats by making high volume, low-cost spay/neuter services available to all residents in our community.
SSNA is currently raising funds to equip the new clinic through grants, private tax deductable donations and events, such as the "Sway and Spay" benefit to be held at the Fairvue Plantation Country Club on June 5th. For more information, visit their website, SumnerSpayNeuterAlliance.org (see Coalition Member page for direct link)