When people consider pets pests

Kelly Fernandes

Four-month-old bearded collie Petunia is simply irresistible.

With bright blue eyes, soft white paws, a gentle spirit and a tongue ready to give a million kisses, it is hard to believe Petunia and her six siblings still do not have homes.

The pups are just one case that Carver Animal Control Officer Shelia Seery is working tirelessly to solve.

"The owner is a responsible breeder who has run into a difficult personal situation, and so I'm helping her find these pups a home as a courtesy," Seery said.

"I've had to educate myself on the breed because we don't run into them up here. They're very rare. Bearded collies are becoming a hot commodity because they're a wonderful family dog with a great disposition and have two coats. They have real hair underneath that keeps them warm and fur on top that is water resistant. They're just great dogs."

Seery is only paid part time but is on call 24 hours a day. She said this summer she has been inundated with an unusual amount of calls, and she takes each one seriously.

"Sometimes, I run up to 10 hours a day," she said. "You can't not respond to a call, especially if it's a public safety risk. A couple weeks ago, I got a call for two loose boxers. The male was so aggressive, he almost took my face off, and no one claimed him.

"Thursday morning, I was chasing a loose horse at 6 a.m., and he knocked me square in the chest. I have had more calls already this summer for dogs than I did the entire year last year."

Seery said she has seen an increase in homeless, abandoned cats and dogs in Carver, and the recent closing of the Animal Rescue League's Pembroke location has made things more difficult.

Animals rescued in Carver are now taken to the Lakeville animal shelter.

"We need a shelter here, at least a holding area for rescued animals to help take the heat off us," Seery said.

Town Administrator Richard LaFond said a committee is studying the need for an animal shelter in Carver.

"We already have a plan for a shelter, but once the committee comes back with its findings, we'll see if changes to the plan need to be made and if there is a need," LaFond said.

Kingston's Animal Control Officer Assistant Kelly Cram said her town is also dealing with an unusual amount of homeless animals.

"This year has been unreal," Cram said. "I took in 47 cats and 19 dogs the month of July. That's almost more than I had overall last year. I think it boils down to irresponsible people. They're not spaying or neutering their pets and pets are being dumped. I know Taunton is also dealing with a huge number of dogs this summer."

Calls to Taunton's animal shelter were not returned.

Meanwhile, Seery and Cram want the public to know that animal control is available to help those who are considering abandoning their pets.

"People don't think to call us, but we are here to help," Cram said.

Seery said anyone interested in adopting Petunia or one of the bearded collies can call her at 508-866-3444.

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