Stephanie Spitz, Manager at Lamar Animal Shelter

Shanice Martinez and Stephanie Spitz

Shanice Martinez and Stephanie Spitz

Stephanie Spitz has been hired by the City of Lamar as the manager of the Lamar Animal Shelter on CR EE.5, just south of the Fairmount Cemetery. She’s held that new position since the end of August and is developing some fresh ideas to keep the dog population low at the shelter and help reunite lost pets with families or find a new home for abandoned dogs.

Lamar Animal Shelter

Lamar Animal Shelter

“We have five dogs in the shelter right now and adopted out five dogs to local residents in the past month,” she stated. The city’s two code enforcement officers will still be on patrol, picking up strays or lost pets and bringing them into the shelter, but Spitz duties take over from that point. “We’re open from 8am to 3pm, Monday through Friday, including the noon hour, and open from 8am to Noon each Saturday,” she said. Lamar is using a grant to help defray the cost of neutering or spaying dogs that come in to the shelter. She explained, “We want to keep the shelter’s ‘no-kill’ designation and that means that any dog we let go has to be altered.” Spitz said any unclaimed animal after five days becomes the property of the city. When someone retrieves their lost pet, they have to pay a $35 fee if the dog is registered with the City, or $43.50 if it is not. She said, “We urge them to get their animal registered or spayed or neutered to keep down the population of strays.”

Spitz started a facebook site, Lamar Shelter, which posts photographs of any new dogs that come in to her. She says this has helped local residents track down a missing pet instead of having to drive up and down local streets searching for their dog. “Tractor Supply held an adoption fair last week that was very successful, and they offered free samples of dog food, so we got some exposure for the dogs that way,” she stated she was impressed with what they had done at the store. Second Chance and L.A.S.T. also took part in the event.

She has three volunteers working with her and they assist in walking or playing with the dogs, keeping them fed and walked and cleaning out the cages. One volunteer on duty this past Monday, Shanice Martinez, is having an experience with the chores and enjoys the work. “I volunteer for a lot of activities in Lamar, as well as being a candy striper and I’ve helped do some of the painting projects around town,” she said. Spitz said she’s considering a program she learned about during a recent conference in which pet owners have the option of volunteering their time at a shelter to pay off the cost of their fee if they don’t have the immediate funds. She said they would have to be approved by the City authorities. Another concept is to bring in age-appropriate youngsters to volunteer some of their time to work with the animals, “There would be on-site parental supervision while the kids play or walk with the dogs and some cleaning chores as well. That way they’ll learn some responsibility about caring for a pet when they get one.”

Some animals will just run away or jump the fence and some are abandoned outright. Others are brought to the shelter if there just isn’t a good match between pet and owner. Spitz recounted one instance, “A person had a service dog and a Chihuahua and the larger dog was becoming aggressive to the smaller one. She brought in the Chihuahua and we found a home for it.” She recounted another instance in which a Walsh resident decided to go with a Pit Bull mix for a pet. “It wasn’t a very attractive dog, but you could tell there was a communication between the man and the dog and it was a fit that worked out for both parties,” she said. During the interview a man came in to the shelter looking for a pug dog to become a family pet, apparently for a young child. Although there weren’t any on hand, Spitz suggested several other alternatives.

She hoped to find some more volunteers, “People can go through a quick background check at the Lamar Police Department if they’re interested. There’s some paperwork involved, but after they’ve passed, they can call and we can work out a schedule for them,” she explained.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEducationFeaturedLamarLaw EnforcementPublic SafetyYouth


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.