Seeking Building Donation
(Crystal A. Proxmire, 2/9/2011)
Angie Potter and other dedicated volunteers stepped up last year to fill in the gap left behind by the City’s loss of an animal control officer due to budget cuts. Her organization, Waggs and Wishes has saved dozens of animals from abandonment and death, and placed many in loving homes. However, as Oakland County gets closer to finalizing plans for offering free animal control services to cities including Ferndale, the ladies at Waggs and Wishes are bracing for the change and asking for help to find a new building for their volunteer animal shelter.
“What we really need is to find a building that can be donated or with really low rent,” Potter said. Currently Waggs and Wishes is caring for animals in the city-owned shelter in the DPW (Department of Public Works) yard at 521 E. Cambourne. Potter said there is no formal agreement with the City, though they are letting them use the space for free. There is also no money changing hands between them. Utilities are paid by the City. The animals’ care has been provided for with hundreds of volunteer hours and donations of food, supplies and money from people in the community.
Oakland County is expected to take over services, after years of providing Animal Control for free for cities in North Oakland County, while the poorer, Southernmost cities have been paying their own. During the 2011 budget process, City leaders discovered the inequity and approached the County about making service equally available to everyone. For more information about how this came about, see – https://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/01/24/free-animal-control-service-by-county/.
The City is expected to review an Oakland County proposal later this month or at the first meeting in March for giving the City free Animal Control services.
Mayor Dave Coulter praised the work the group has done. “The city is very grateful for our partnership with Waggs and Wishes, which provided much needed services at a time when we were forced to eliminate Animal Control due to budget cuts. Council hasn’t reviewed an agreement with Oakland County, but their offer of free animal control services is obviously helpful, and something Commissioner Covey and I have worked to make happen. The county made clear they would have all responsibility for the program, so it remains to be seen what role Waggs and Wishes can play if we were to enter that arrangement. Whatever happens, the city will continue to do everything it can to support the group and the important work they do.”
If Council votes to accept County service, it would mean that Waggs and Wishes would have to operate independently from the City, and would not be able to use the City-owned building. Oakland County has a history of partnering with nonprofits like the Oakland Pet Adoption Center, and local pet-related businesses in the communities they serve to provide temporary homes for animals to be adopted (see http://www.oakgov.com/petadoption/programs_services), so working together could be a possibility, but not without a new facility.
“If we don’t find a space, then the County will take all these animals and we will have to close down,” Potter said.
“Our building is very tiny, as it was never meant to be a rescue, just used for holding dogs till their owners came forward or they were sent to the Humane Society,” she said. “It’s only around 700-800 square feet.”
Currently they have 10 kennels in the cramped space. Eight are small ones that only fit one dog and there are two big ones that can fit 3 dogs if they get along together. They also have extra cages, making for a capacity of 18 animals. Finding a new, bigger space, is essential to Waggs and Wishes being able to carry on with their rescue work.
They are hoping that someone will come forward and offer to donate or rent them space at a low cost. “We really want to stay in Ferndale,” Potter. “This is my home and everyone here has been really supportive. There are a lot of animal lovers here.”
Potter said she has enough crates and volunteers to build kennels wherever they go. They can use either long-term or short-term space, and size is not an issue, although the more space they have, the more animals they can save.
When asked what her ideal new Waggs and Wishes home would be, Potter said “We would love to have a bigger building that is more fit for a Rescue. One with a bathroom, laundry room, office, room for kennels to be put up. Plus a fenced in outside so the dogs could go out and play, and don’t forget the most important a place to have a TUB, some of these dogs that come in are pretty stinky!”
Anyone who can provide space to Waggs and Wishes can contact Angie Potter at 734-658-1268
More information about Oakland County Animal Control go to: http://www.oakgov.com/petadoption/about/.
To find out more about Waggs and Wishes, or to donate to their Building Fund, go to http://www.waggsandwishes.org.
To check out previous Ferndale 115 Stories on Waggs and Wishes, including our monthly “Pet Pick” features, please go to https://oaklandcounty115.com/category/pets-and-animal/.