The fate of too many animals is decided not by the severity of their condition or the availability of vet care.
It’s decided by the financial resources to provide them with that care.
If an animal gets sick or is hit by a car or otherwise injured and no owner can be found, oftentimes, animal shelters and rescue groups front the cost for their care. If they can’t come up with the money quickly, the animal can languish in pain, or worse.
That’s why the village of North Syracuse has established a 911 Pet Fund, so that, through community fundraisers and donations, such animals can receive the care they need immediately.
The idea for the fund came out of a meeting between Mayor Mark Atkinson, Director of Parks and Recreation Teresa Roth and Margaret DeLeo and Nadine Tischenko from the Greater North Syracuse Chamber of Commerce.
“[The chamber was] hoping to schedule a few special, community events which would raise some money, but they were looking for a good cause for the money to go toward. They were wondering if the village had any suggestions,” Roth said.
At a recent village board meeting, the topic of veterinary care in emergency situations had been discussed. There had been several cases in which a dog had been hit by a car — not an uncommon occurrence in a village that includes Route 11, Taft Road, South Bay Road and several busy intersections — and needed immediate care, but the village couldn’t track down the owner.
“This isn’t something that we have budgeted for,” Roth said.
So the group started thinking: what if the village started a fund that would allow designated village personnel to drop off cats and dogs in need of urgent care at a local animal hospital so that they could receive treatment?
“In life or death emergencies, this fund can provide the resources for vital veterinarian care, increase [the animal’s] chance for survival, with hopes for the animal to recover and find its forever home,” Tischenko said.
In order to raise awareness of the fund as well as to start to fill its coffers, the village held its first (and hopefully first of many) Pet Pawty at the North Syracuse Community Center this weekend. The event invited families, both human and furry, to participate in a number of events including raffles, games, entertainment, a pet parade, a chance to try out the village’s new Disc Golf course and more. In addition, a number of local animal rescue groups were represented to provide information about adoption and pet care.
“These types of events are typical of what a small community partnering with their government can accomplish for the good of the community,” said Atkinson.
Tischenko said the Pet Pawty, in addition to being a great community event that brought pet owners together, also let them know about an important service.
“The importance of this fund to the community is the peace of mind that if your pet gets loose when you are away, there are people there to aid your beloved friend if forbid, something were to happen,” she said. “People can donate to this and feel comforted that it is there for the animals.”
Moreover, it shows how committed the village is to providing for all of its residents — whether they have two legs or four.
“Anyone who has a pet knows how important that animal is to them and their family,” Roth said. “If that animal were to get lost/injured/harmed, we would all want the animal to receive attention and proper care. In emergency cases, time is of the essence. We want each animal to receive care not just the ones that are owned by village residents, or those who we can quickly find an owner for.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.