To All Fans of Woodbridge, CT, Animal Control, and animal lovers everywhere: This morning, all of the farm animals at the Woodbridge animal shelter were confiscated by police and brought to a local farm of questionable integrity (I will explain why I believe it’s “questionable” later in this column.) Apparently, the officers don't believe a shelter is the best place for them. However, every one of those animals was well taken care of and very loved by the staff and the many, many area residents who visit there.
While I am concerned about all of them, I am especially worried about the pot-bellied pig, Parker. Parker had a wonderful life at the shelter, with lots of attention and excellent care. What the police don't understand is that pigs are not only incredibly smart animals, they are social beings who rely on bonds they form with their "family" members, who happen to be the people at the animal shelter. While we tend to think of pigs as "farm" animals, the truth is, they are family-oriented beings who are devastated and depressed when removed from those with whom they've bonded. Months ago, when ACO Karen Lombardi was being pressured by the police department to get rid of their farm animals, I agreed to take Parker, but only if they absolutely could not keep him as I knew the shelter was the ideal place, and situation, for him. I was hopeful that it would work out – after all, the farm animals are not funded by the town as all their food and vet bills are covered by the ACOs out of their own pockets. So what was the problem? Most of the other pounds in the area, including Milford, keep farm animals on site as shelter pets.
Still, if Parker couldn’t stay there, our farm animal rescue, Locket’s Meadow, has lots of experience with pigs. Ours are spoiled and loved, and visitors are welcome to come and help us spoil and love them so Parker’s fan club would be able to maintain their relationships with him.
Today, when I heard the news about the “raid” on the pound, I was horrified for the animals and the people who love them, as well as for the ACOs who have worked so hard to make the shelter an inviting place for everyone. I believe the move was a bad one on so many levels. First, the animals’ best interest was NOT taken into account. Second, the SHELTER’S best interest is not served by this. Attracting people to Woodbridge Animal Control by keeping a few happy and contented farm animals is A GOOD THING. The people who spend time at the pound are THE PEOPLE WHO FALL IN LOVE WITH ANIMALS AT THE POUND AND ADOPT THEM, GIVING THEM GOOD HOMES. Isn’t that the point of the animal shelter? Well? Isn’t it? Turning it into a cold, sterile, uninviting shell of a facility is extremely counter-productive.
While Woodbridge Animal Control is under the jurisdiction of the town police department, I believe the citizens of the communities they serve should speak up if they are amongst the many who loved to visit with Parker and friends at the shelter. There is a Selectmens’ meeting on Wednesday evening, Jan. 9, 7pm, at Woodbridge Town Hall and residents can use the public speaking portion to voice their concerns. I will be there, as I am really upset that a very spoiled little pig, who is used to pampering and routine, is in a strange and lonely place tonight. Parker was all I could think of as I tucked in my own pigs tonight, each with their own routine and special blankets, special treats, pats and kisses. If Parker couldn’t be in his own crate at the shelter, he should have been here, where we understand how to care for pet pigs (for example, I was told the owner of the farm took the mini pig food from the pound and said she would use it until they could wean Parker onto “their” food . . . you do not wean a mini pig onto ANYTHING ELSE! Mini pig food along with fresh produce is the ONLY acceptable diet for a pot-bellied pig, period! That is, if you care about his health and welfare AT ALL. . . OK, mini rant is now over . . . )
Again, if you are a fan of the charming, family-friendly and visitor-friendly Woodbridge Animal Shelter, and if you are going to miss the country farm atmosphere that is so in tune with the rural towns of Woodbridge and Bethany served by the shelter, please make your opinion known at the Wednesday evening meeting. While I don’t know all the motives behind what happened this morning, I do know that these animals should not suffer because they may have been turned into pawns in some bizarre game. They can’t speak for themselves, but we can do our best to give them voice, and I firmly believe if given a choice, they would choose to stay in their shelter home.
7pm. Wednesday night. Woodbridge Town Hall.
Petunia Buttercup poses for pictures on our farm.
Kathleen Schurman owns Locket’s Meadow, a farm animal rescue sanctuary in Bethany, Connecticut, where she lives a life filled with “glamour” which is her cute little euphemism for “manure/mud/slime, etc.” When she is not blogging she is shoveling glamour, teaching therapeutic riding and occasionally writing a book (her most recent title is Three Days in August.) But mostly, she’s shoveling glamour . . .
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