December 6, 2023

What's Goin on at the Animal Shelter?


From 1997-2002, I worked as a volunteer at the East Providence Animal Shelter. In 1999, I became the director of volunteers, relieving the former director after over 20 years of dedicated service to the animals and residents of East Providence.

That position was a dubious distinction. It came with abuse, bullying, and threats from the paid shelter staff and enforced by the police department. The shelter and its inhabitants were seen as nothing more than a nuisance and we were treated as such.

Sadly, nothing has changed. The animal shelter is almost empty; not because there are no stray or lost animals, but because there is no staff to retrieve them or answer calls from the public. During the years of my service, there was one full time ACO, two part time ACO's, four full time pound keepers, and a revolving door of weekend pound keepers. Now there is one ACO who works seven days a week, and one part time pound keeper. With few exceptions, the cages are empty. It looks to me like the City is in the process of phasing out the shelter.

Conversely, the City has no problem throwing money away on unnecessary services. Earlier this week, my elderly father fell while I was at a doctor appointment and had to call 911 for a lift assist. Seven people came. Seven, to lift a frail old man, with no injury, off the floor. How much does that cost every time someone calls 911 and an entire squad of people arrive when two or maybe three can get the job done? But there's no money to hire ACO's and pound-keepers?

This is not only bad management, but a disgrace. The employees at the shelter perform an important service and should be treated with the same dignity and respect as any other city employee and should be paid accordingly and not expected to work every single day because the City is too cheap and too lazy to hire more people.

Brenda Hogan


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