(Wallaceburg Animal Shelter)

The Pet and Wildlife Rescue (PAWR) group is set to take over operations at the Wallaceburg Animal Shelter on an interim basis.

Larry Benoit, the current operator of the Wallaceburg location, is looking to retire and he told the Municipality he wished to terminate his agreement for animal control service in Wards 4 and 5, effective November 30.

Benoit’s contract had been set to conclude on March 31, 2018, the same sate all animal control contracts in Chatham-Kent are due to expire.

“Chatham-Kent wishes to thank Larry Benoit and his staff for their many years of service to the animals and citizens of Chatham-Kent,” Nancy Havens, manager of licensing services in Chatham-Kent, said in a report.

“Larry Benoit has agreed to assign his rights under the animal control contract and lease agreement to (PAWR.) Due to the good working relationship and acceptable services offered by PAWR administration is recommending that PAWR provide animal control and shelter services for Wards 4 and 5 for the remaining four months of the contract.”

Havens said PAWR has agreed to provide shelter services out of the Wallaceburg shelter with the same operating hours, and at the same costs effective December 1, 2017 pending council’s approval.

Myriam Armstrong

Myriam Armstrong, operations manager for PAWR, told the Sydenham Current they are happy to extend their services into Wallaceburg.

“It’s going to be status quo,” Armstrong said.

“It’s going to be the same service that they offer right now.”

Armstrong said the Monday to Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. schedule will remain in place at the Wallaceburg site.

“People can come and surrender their dogs or dogs that are picked up by animal control in Wards 4 and 5 go to that shelter, as well for their mandatory three-day hold,” she said.

“This contract also includes animal control and bylaw enforcement, so we will have our officers answer to the public’s complaints when it comes to the animal ownership bylaw. Also, we’ll do some patrolling to make sure that you know dogs are not getting into traffic and that everybody is safe.”

PAWR, who formed in 2014, won the contract for animal control services in Wards 2 and 6 in October of last year. Read more, here.

Armstrong said maintaining the Wallaceburg contract figures into their long-term plans.

“This is definitely something we are looking at,” she said.

“We really enjoy what we are doing here (in Chatham) and we are getting great feedback from the people we are working with, like the Municipality and the police. We are just excited to expand in Wallaceburg. We know a lot of people in Wallaceburg. We have a lot of volunteers in the Wallaceburg area and they are pretty excited too to be able to take part in the expansion.”

Armstrong said the Wallaceburg Animal Shelter will still not be taking in cats.

“That won’t change at that point,” she said.

“It’s just not suitable for cats. We do not pick up any cats. We only pick up stray dogs. We don’t go and pick up injured cats or any cats for the matter, which just wouldn’t be feasible because of the size of Chatham-Kent and the number of cats.”

Council is set to vote on the changes as part of the content agenda at the council meeting scheduled for Monday, September 11, 2017.

– Photo credit: Wallaceburg Animal Shelter

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