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Rescue or relinquish: Where to bring animals for adoption

(Dec. 19, 2014) Outside of Ocean City, stray animals are, according to county code, to serve a quarantine of 10 days at the Worcester County Animal Control center off Timmons Road in Snow Hill. That’s a good 20 miles away from the Worcester County Humane Society, near the Ocean City Airport.

The reasoning for this is admittedly nebulous, but as an organization trying to rebuild itself, the humane society is quite used to working in uncharted territory.

“We’re trying to organize policies and procedures, and we’re starting from scratch,” Kelly Austin, president of the humane society’s board of directors, said.

There exists a deal in which animals found in Ocean City can serve their quarantine at the humane society. All other animals are, for the time being, out of luck at that facility.

“Any stray animal in Worcester County can be brought to animal control, we’re funded for that,” Chief Animal Control Officer Susan Rantz said.

Relinquished pets, those with vet records, can be surrendered at the humane society and that’s where a portion of the animals they have available for adoption come from. Another part of their population is transfers form other shelters, particularly shelters that will euthanize animals after a time, Austin said.

The Worcester County Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, and does not transfer animals to shelters that do euthanize animals, Austin said.

A remnant from the “bad old days,” humane society board members said, is a deal where the Town of Ocean City provides a grant of $15,000 to the facility to accept their strays. Without other such arrangements, other towns are compelled to follow county code, which states all strays must go to animal control for quarantine.

“We have to provide a chance for owners to claim them, and we need to ensure they’re not bringing in something like Parvo, which could kill all the animals at the shelter,” Sandi Smith, a member of the board of directors said.

If the animal has been mistreated and owners do indeed attempt to claim them, proper action can be taken at animal control.

If the situation sounds broken, it’s because it is. Austin said in the past the humane society worked under the auspices of word of mouth as well as unwritten rules alongside the few rules that were written down. With the coming of the new director, hired in March, Austin said things are beginning to change.

Austin said she would like to pursue a memorandum of understanding with the county to ease the process for depositing stray animals, but admitted there are a host of issues demanding the board’s attention at this time.

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