Our Views: Proper pet care bolsters community

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Monday, September 30, 2013

How a community treats its animals says much about the people in that community and the quality of life they expect.

Given that, the stature of the people in Janesville and Rock County is rising, and so are expectations for our way of life.

Three Gazette stories in recent days make that clear. The most recent came Monday when Jim Leute reported on the Veterinary Emergency Service clinic under construction at 3710 E. Racine St. in Janesville. Veterinarian David Wirth says the service will be open hours when most veterinary clinics are closed—from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. weekdays and around the clock on weekends. Sure, the care likely will be expensive. It will save time and miles for owners of pets in need of emergency care, however, and ultimately save animals’ lives. For people passionate about their pets, the care will be worth every penny.

Couple that with two more stories emerging out of the Rock County Humane Society. First, the society’s shelter at 222 Arch St. in Janesville is undergoing a facelift, part of which includes transforming some care spaces into “community rooms.” Cats will be able to climb trees or curl up on sunny shelves for naps—when they aren’t watching birds at a feeder just outside a window. Staffers believe these places will sell the personality of each feline. People who see two cats interacting comfortably or playfully might adopt both.

In the shelter’s main area, walls have been painted with tropical colors, and new light bulbs also help create a brighter, cheerful, positive place. Atmosphere matters, new Executive Director Brett Frazier told reporter Catherine W. Idzerda. The shelter also has plans to improve it dog runs.

Second and perhaps even more important, Frazier announced that Blain’s Farm & Fleet has agreed to provide food at no cost to the shelter’s adult dogs and cats. That adds up to about 10 tons per year. It’s a generous offer. The shelter will accept other food donations to help low-income families who are struggling to pay for pet care and who, absent help, might give up or abandon their animals.

The deal with Farm & Fleet comes after Mounds Petfood Warehouse severed ties with the humane society earlier this year. That closed a satellite adoption center that across 14 years helped the shelter find new homes for more than 1,300 animals. It also meant the society no longer would get food free or at cost.

Angela Rhodes was out as society executive director soon afterward, and the society hired Frazier in June. Despite his lack of experience in the animal care industry, that decision is proving to be wise. Frazier’s public relations background is helping the shelter build new bridges with interested organizations and heal wounded relationships with municipalities.

Collectively, these three stories are good for our communities and residents who care about pets and all animals.

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