Hamden establishes first animal control facility gift fund

By Mary Rose Bevins

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According to Hamden Mayor Curt Balzano Leng, the Hamden Legislative Council recently approved the town’s first “Animal Control Facility Gift Fund.” The fund is the foundation for a new Hamden or regional facility and was established as a reaction to the community wanting a secure shelter. 

“We would like to do a little better with animals than we are doing with them now,” Leng said.

Authorizing this fund shows the commitment to create a new animal control facility and allows those interested in helping the town and shelters make this goal a reality. According to the Town of Hamden’s Facebook page, any donation made to the gift fund must follow the town’s procurement process and solely be used for the purpose of a new facility.   

While Hamden’s Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue and Where The Love is Animal Rescue are excited to hear this news, their main priority is to tend to their animals needs.  Co-founder of Where the Love Is Animal Rescue, Christina Hackett, said all of the animals that arrive are examined by a veterinarian and given any treatment needed.  

“Before [the dogs] leave and go to their forever homes they are microchipped, vaccinated and are either spayed or neutered,” Hackett said.

With the help of donations from pet stores like Pet Valu, grants and fundraising events, Where The Love Is is able to cover medical bills with that money. This year, they spent about $80,000 in vet bills and were able to use all of the adoption fees received and money donated/fundraised to help cover the cost. 

To shelter their animals, they rent out two places. 

“We have a garage and a kennel,” Hackett said. 

The garage holds six 5-by-5 cages and the kennel holds four 5-by-5 cages with 20 dogs and two cats to care for. Hackett is happy where the animals are sheltered, but is also hopeful the gift fund allows all of the animals to be housed together soon.  

While the animal rescue shelters continue to raise money to help support the animals they rescue, they also do what they can to raise money for a new facility. According to Leng, Hamden’s biggest contributor to help raise money for the shelter is Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue. 

“[Last year] we held a small blue collar fundraiser that inspired the town to make an animal shelter fund,” Gimme Shelter volunteer Lenny Young said. 

Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue has continuously held events to fundraise money for their animals, but their next big event will be a fundraiser to help establish a Hamden or regional animal shelter. On Feb. 15, JaSa Asian Cuisine will donate 20 percent of each pre-tax bill to the Hamden Animal Shelter Gift Fund. Young and other Gimme volunteers are excited for this event. 

“We chose the day after Valentine’s Day because it’s the Chinese New Year, which is the year of the dog,” Young said. 

The purpose of this fundraiser is to bring the animal shelter issue out of obscurity. 

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“We are trying to get people to support it, not necessarily help out. We just need people to spread the word,” Young said. 

To get 20 percent of your bill donated, go to Gimme Shelter Animal Rescue’s website, print out the flier and bring it with you to the restaurant. 

“Every penny goes to the animal shelter gift fund,” Young said. 

According to the Where The Love Is Facebook page, the shelter has been doing more adoption events than fundraising events. On Feb. 9-10, volunteers went to various Pet Valu stores in Connecticut. At these events they bring along a few furry friends to interact with possible families who want to adopt a rescued animal. 

They have yet to release any upcoming events, but are more than happy to have volunteers come in and help in any way possible, Hackett stated. 

With the foundation of the gift fund under way, our furry friends in Hamden will hopefully be housed together in their new animal shelter very soon. 

To donate to the Animal Control Facility Fund or adopt an animal visit either shelters website: http://abandonedanimals.org/ and http://www.wheretheloveis.org/