FALL RIVER — After a decade of transporting stray or lost cats and dogs and other animals out of town for shelter, Fall River Animal Control officers will be bringing their furry charges for safety to the city based Forever Paws — a no kill shelter.
Forever Paws, 300 Lynwood St., was the only organization that bid for the three-year shelter contract through a request for proposals with the bid opening earlier this week.
Fall River Animal Control Supervisor Cindy Berard said she was excited to hear the news about having a shelter back in the city, but that she’s grateful to the Southcoast Humane Society in Dartmouth for their years of servicing animal control saying “they’ve been very good to us.” The contract with the humane society expires June 30, but it may take a few weeks to complete the transfer.
“It will be nice to be back here and not have to take a 20-minute drive to transport the animals,” Berard said.
It is also a win for residents who have lost pets rescued by animal control with a shorter, more convenient trip to retrieve their lost cats and dogs.
Forever Paws President Gail Furtado said even though they have two contracts with New Bedford and Westport, now is a good time to board animals from Fall River.
“Right now we have a great shelter administrator and a great staff and the animals are moving quickly,” Furtado said.
She credits new shelter administrator Casey Fredette, who she said has a lot of great contacts in the animal shelter world. The organization has joined AniMatch, a program created by the Massachusetts Animal Coalition that provides a network between animal welfare organizations throughout the state.
Forever Paws even has the ability to take in animals that have languished in other shelters to give them a better chance at adoption.
Furtado said being the provider of shelter for Fall River animals is a way to give back to the city while making it more convenient for residents to retrieve their lost pets or find a new animal companion.
“We’re the first place they’ll call when they are looking for their pet,” said Furtado.
In the bid, Forever Paws submitted to the city the animal shelter service made it clear the organization had a no-kill policy.
“That’s not our mission to euthanize animals,” Furtado said.
Berard said animal control officers pick up about 80 animals a month, but it’s not just cats and dogs, but wildlife as well.
“In the last two months, we’ve picked up about 50 possum babies. Their mothers will be hit by cars and they’re just standing by the side of the road,” Berard said. The babies are taken to a sanctuary by animal control officers.
Furtado said she’s excited about the contract with the Fall River Animal Control and continuing to work with Berard whom she hired after the head of animal control graduated from college.
“We’ll probably be hiring new staff, and we can always use more volunteers.”