My pets and the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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Recently, I had one of my pets die. Coco Bear, or Puddin, as we called him was 15 years old and about to turn 16. He was a male Sable Burmese cat and was loved; exceptionally smart compared to other cats we owned over the years.

One morning, I went in the kitchen, got his food and put it down at his feeding location in the bedroom. A few minutes later my wife called me and said, “there is something wrong with the cat.” I went in there, and yep, he had died. We buried him in our front garden which is our pet cemetery.

We still have a pet Chihuahua Scruffy and a 10-year-old black cat named Ninja who was adopted at Beaufort County Animal Services. We have always had pets, more cats than dogs. Our last Chihuahua lived 17 years. The present Chihuahua is 6 years old and weighs 12 pounds; may be a mixed breed but looks like one.

The death of my cat made me think about the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Control Facility. I used to visit it about once a year when I was a county commissioner but haven’t been out there since I left office in 2014.

Beaufort County’s Animal Services facility is modern and well-maintained. It’s located on U.S. Highway 264 east of Washington. Melanie Sawyer is the Animal Services Manager.

I drove out to the Betsy Bailey Nelson Facility Monday afternoon. Just as I remembered it, modern and well maintained. I went in the facility and talked to

Melanie about animal control. She was nice enough to give me a tour.

When I walk by all the cages and runs, and see all the full-grown cats and dogs, it makes me sad. I know that many of these animals used to be pets which their owners no longer wanted. Their chance for adoption may be limited.

I couldn’t imagine taking one of my pets there. But then again, Carol and I are old.  We’re hoping that our daughter will take good care of our pets when we pass. I’m sure she will, but some older pet owners may not have that option.

The facility has 20 dog runs and 49 cat cages. They are always near full capacity.  Intake of animals has been shut down at least once. There is nothing worse than having to euthanize some of the animals because there is no place to keep them.

Animal Control is blessed with many volunteers. There is no shortage of food for the animals. The food is donated.

I left animal control impressed again as I always have been when I visited the facility. Melanie, her staff and the volunteers do a terrific job. All the donors who contribute also need to be recognized for their contributions.

If you need a pet, the Betsy Bailey Animal Control Facility absolutely has several to pick from to adopt. Always be committed to your new dog or cat when you adopt one and take the pet home. New pets always require time to adapt to their new environment. They mostly need love above all.

Al Klemm is a Washington resident and a former Beaufort County Commissioner.