Wednesday, October 20, 2010

STL County launches new animal help line

From St. Louis Globe-Democrat

“Heffie’s Help Line” a free resource for area pet owners and pet advocates, was launched Wednesday by Saint Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley and Health Department Director Dr. Dolores J. Gunn.
“Anyone who calls 314-615-1777 can report cases of animal abuse that will be investigated within 48 hours,” Dooley said.
“You don’t have to identify yourself to get help for any animal that may be tethered in violation of county ordinances or suffering other forms of abuse,” Dooley said.
Callers can also get information on low cost spay/neuter programs including the Saint Louis County Animal Care and Control Voucher program as well as many other animal welfare related resources. The help line is available on a 24/7 basis.
The new service is part of an expansion of Animal Care and Control Services that includes opening a new facility next summer. The facility will double the county’s space for cats and dogs and will provide additional space for vector control offices.
“The new animal care and adoption center will be a state-of-the-art facility and will offer the best possible treatment for the animals in our care,” Dooley said.
The help line is in partnership with several animal welfare organizations, including the Animal Protective Association (APA); The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO); Operation Stop Pet Over Population Today (SPOT); Dogs Deserve Better, Benefitting Animals Through Responsibility and Compassion (BARC) and Metro Animal.
“Collaboration with other animal welfare ambassadors will be the key to the help line’s success as it allows us to reach out to more residents and offer more assistance,” Dr. Gunn said.
Other recorded information that can be accessed through the help line includes: pet adoption, lost and found, animal ordinances, and volunteering. Information will be mailed to those who do not have computer access.
The help line is named in honor of Heffie, a two-year-old pit bull who spent most of his life tied to a chain in an outside enclosure in violation of local tethering laws. The help line will allow citizens to report illegal tethering and abuse anonymously so that dogs like Heffie have a better chance at a safe environment. Heffie was rescued earlier this year but later died of natural causes.
More information can be found at www.stlouisco.com/doh/animals/animals.html.

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