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SHOUT OUT: Should the City of Bowie Have Its Own Animal Shelter?

Patch wants to know what you think about local hot-button issues.

Although the City of Bowie Town Hall currently houses a short-term animal holding facility for pets who have been separated from their owners, a local group called Bowie CLAW wants the town to construct its own short-term animal shelter, separate from the town hall facilities.

The city’s Financial Advisory Committee advised against this expense at last week’s mayor and council meeting, due to the expense and the fact that there is a new county-run facility nine miles away from Bowie.

What do you think, Bowie? Should the town have its own temporary shelter, separate from the town hall holding facility? Is the town hall facility adequate?

Richard Dodson May 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM
Just as the City of Bowie now has its OWN Police Department, which is doing a better job of dealing with Bowie's GROWING Crime Problem, the City needs its own Short-term Animal Shelter. Bowie has a GROWING problem with Domestic Animals wandering about the neighborhoods; some are Ferel, while others are just LOST.. Although we DO NOT condone Pets wandering about off of a leach and venturing into other's yards, we know of several cases where beloved Pets were euthanized at the County Shelter, before the Owners even knew that they had been "Picked Up." If Bowie had it's own Short-term Shelter, BOWIE would have more control over this "Situation."
Connie Carter May 16, 2012 at 12:52 PM
If a question is posed to the citizens of Bowie, I think it is necessary to state facts accurately. First, "City Hall" does not house a short-term holding facility like the one Bowie CLAW is presenting for the citizens. They have a 20ft x 7ft room with 3 "stalls" with chain walls, no windows or plans to have of monitoring system. It has been stated that the animals will only be held until 5pm at the latest. Their goal is to transport any animals to County by 2pm leaving very little, if any, time for citizens to reclaim their precious pet. This room will be only for the pets picked up by Bowie Animal Control and will not help the citizens that are kind enough to pick up a stray animal, which happens more often than many people realize, or the animals that Prince George's Animal Control picks up. These animals will still be taken directly to County. We are talking about approximately 400 Bowie pets per year taken to County, only about 100 of which are taken by BAC. The Short-Term Animal Shelter which Bowie CLAW and the citizens have been fighting for will hold the pets for about 5 days, allowing adequate time to reunite the pet with its human companion or if none is found, find a rescue, foster or new home thus giving this wonderful pet a chance at a new life instead of exposing it to the overcrowded, understaffed and highly contagious diseases at the County facility which may be 9 miles away from South Bowie but is 25 minutes away for those living on the North side.
Keefe Hogan May 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM
While budgets in the state and local arena certainly are more scrutinized and tighter than ever, it serves Bowie well to have many of its own resources. Let’s be honest – the vast tax base of PG county comes from the city of Bowie. Relying on the rest of the county and its very broken and very sordid county Government is not in the cities best interest. Having our own short-term animal shelter would provide our city with more control over our animal population and quicker response times than the county. Family-based areas have a higher pet population. The shelter would provide an added level of comfort for citizens and provide an easy outlet for people who find animals and have no idea what to do with lost pet.
Connie Carter May 16, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Let's not forget that Bowie CLAW has $150,000 with a letter of intent to the City to establish the short-term shelter. The City already owns the vacant police trailers with sewer, water, electricity hook up already. The monies would go to soundproofing and outfitting the trailers, etc, as well as operational costs which means the citizens would not see a tax increase. Volunteers stand at the ready to help support the BAC staff. Over 50% of Bowie has pets. This is a great City with many amenities to almost all demographics. Let's help the citizens with pets. It is the right thing to do.
Jenni Pompi (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 10:04 PM
It seems a there was an effort to move funding the shelter in to FY2013 (which begins in June), but the motion failed 4-3. Looks like the shelter may have to wait until FY2014.
Teriberi May 16, 2012 at 11:10 PM
I attended the May 14th City Council Meeting and was extremely disappointed that the vote to move the City run Short-Term Animal Shelter to the 2012-2013 budget was voted down by our Mayor, Ms. Polangin, Mr. Marcos and Mr. Gardner. The members that voted for the move were Mr. Brady, Mr. Trouth and Mr. Turner. Gentlemen, thank you for caring for the families and their animals in Bowie. With a Bowie population of approximately 55,000 and at least half of the households have 1 or 2 pets (I have 3 adopted animals), we definately NEED a short-term animal shelter in Bowie, not want NEED. Not only would citizens be able to retrieive their pets the same day, their pets could be microchipped, licensened, etc. and it would be a central location for animal resources. Citizens could volunteer at the shelter as a community to help all creatures great and small. St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of small children and animals, let us protect all animals by his example, treating them with kindness and compassion.
SFBMoore May 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM
While I fully appreciate the concerns of those who want a local animal shelter, and I have sympathy for the animals who wander away from home, I think those who want these services should find more creative ways of funding their project. $150,000 is not enough to build the shelter that is needed; the group should seek grant money from animal friendly alliances. The group should propose a fee policy for those who use the shelter where the fees would cover the operating costs. Our city has lost substantial state funding, funds which were always used to cover street maintenance. In spite of this, the council voted to take funds from our "savings" account to keep street repairs. If they had voted on an animal shelter, the funds would have had to come out of savings again....in violation of our financial policies. Alternatively, we would have had to take funds out of existing maintenance needs or raised taxes. None of these alternatives are acceptable. Please, those of you who want this shelter, find a way of financing it without asking the general taxpayers of Bowie to cover the cost of your "pet" project. Bonnie Moore, Chairperson, Bowie Financial Advisory Committee
Connie Carter May 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM
How can the CIty know the cost of building a shelter when noone from the City has made any effort to research the project whereas Bowie CLAW has and has given a very detailed report to the Council and City Staff. Bowie CLAW has also given detailed operating budgets but again, no one from the City has reached out to do proper reseach on their own including the holding room and that was only after Bowie CLAW made noise about the safety of the pets that were going to be put there. There is no proof that funds for a shelter would have to come out of a savings or that taxes would be increased. Making this decision with lack of research seems to be the City's agenda and that does not serve the citizens which is what the Council was elected to do. If anyone thinks that the 20ft x 7ft room will help the citizens, they need to think again. How can it help if the animals will still have to be transported to County by early afternoon. That makes no sense and helps no one. To be financially responsible as the City keeps saying they must be, then ALL projects should come to a halt immediately including the playground at Allen Pond and the renovation of Whitemarsh Park among the many others. As a final note, Bowie CLAW HAS a way of financing the shelter without asking the general taxpayers of Bowie to cover the cost of the shelter. The City doesn't want to hear it. Maybe they will listen when election time comes. All this information in on our website for anyone to view.
SFBMoore May 17, 2012 at 10:45 PM
I take issue with your comment that no one has examined where the funds would come from, if approved. I have been on the financial advisory committee for about 8 years, and each year I have studied the budget carefully, and I have understood where funds come from, and where they go. I have worked as a financial consultant to several governmental agencies for more than 13 years. I know how to read municipal budgets. I also know quite a bit about construction costs...and no I haven't seen your detailed plans, but I have paid plenty of contractors. Please read the Bowie city budget...we took money out of our savings account just to meet existing expenses. We only have three choices....take the money out of savings against the rules; take the money out off other maintenance projects; or raise taxes. If Bowie CLAW has the money to build a shelter...please apply for a permit and get it built. Bonnie Moore, Chairperson, Bowie Financial Advisory Committee
Connie Carter May 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Once again the point has been twisted. Our taxes were raised, then the City employees received bonuses. Interesting. A multimillion dollar city hall was built without asking the citizens. A new playground for allen pond, renovate whitemarsh park. Where does that money come from? Bowie CLAW has the money and we want to work with the City. It will be paid for. It will not cost the citizens additional taxes and there will be a revnue stream. It will save tax payers money thru BAC budget savings and yes I have looked at the budget. Citizens can check our website to learn the real facts.
SFBMoore May 18, 2012 at 10:23 AM
I'm very pleased to hear that CLAW has the money to build and operate a facility! I'm sure that there will be no issue in getting a building pemit issued. The funds should be raised by those interested in the facility, and the operating costs should be paid through a fee system. Sounds like you are on the right track! By the way, the tax rate has stayed virtually even for several years and there is no "bonus" program in Bowie. The city hall went through a very long review process with a great deal of citizen input. It was voted on and passed, and it also includes facilities for lost pets. Bonnie Moore, Chairperson, Bowie Financial Advisory Committee

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