From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: The Martin County Commission will be discussing the Domestic Animal Control Task Force at its meeting on December 13 following a vote last week to suspend all meetings and activities of the Task Force to allow new Commissioner Harold Jenkins to collect information to determine whether or not to continue the important work of the Task Force.
Since meetings have been suspended, Commissioner Jenkins will not have any way of learning about the critical work the Task Force has done so far or what is on tap for the future unless supporters communicate with him directly.
You can be assured that representatives of the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast will be working hard to persuade him that the Task Force is simply trying to prevent the County from renewing its $560,000-a-year animal services contract with HSTC.
This, of course, is completely untrue.
The Task Force’s mission is to review and make recommendations regarding County policies, ordinances and contracts related to domestic animal care and control. The Task Force has been engaged in a painstaking review of the Animal Control Ordinance, going through definitions in a methodical effort to update an outdated ordinance.
The Task Force made initial recommendations for provisions that should be included in the County’s animal care and control contract, whether the vendor is the HSTC or another organization, including a prohibition on the use of the inhumane “heart stick” method of euthanasia as well as requiring that the vendor provide adequate flea and tick control and prevention. The recommendations, which were approved by the Commission before two new commissioners assumed office, are viewed as very reasonable by an animal shelter services consultant, Karel Minor, who was sponsored by the Pegasus Foundation to visit Martin County’s shelters and sanctuaries.
The Task Force is focusing on revising local ordinances, including expanding the TNR (Trap-Neuter/Spay-Release) ordinance which is vital to reducing the number of feral and stray cats in the community, and promoting sterilization of pets throughout the County to reduce the number of abandoned animals who may be ultimately euthanized.
The Task Force is considering “no kill” policies that have been put into place by other local governments in our area, including the highly successful policy adopted by neighboring Palm Beach County. Aggressive sterilization and adoption programs are part of this type of policy, along with coalitions of community animal advocacy organizations.
Please contact Commissioner Jenkins and let him know that the Task Force is doing important work to protect and save animals throughout Martin County on a variety of fronts. The HSTC contract is not the only matter the Task Force is reviewing.
Please contact Commissioner Jenkins via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 221-2357. Arrange a personal meeting with him if you can at his office at 2401 SE Monterey Road, Stuart.
It is especially important that members of the Task Force reach out to let Commissioner Jenkins know what you are doing and why it is so critically important to the animals of Martin County.
You may also want to contact Commissioners Heard, Fielding and Ciampi. Commissioner Smith has indicated that he wants to dissolve the Task Force, and Commissioner Ciampi seems inclined to go along with that proposal but may not be fully aware of all the Task Force is doing. Commissioners Heard and Fielding have been highly supportive of the Task Force.
Sarah Heard’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone is 221-2358
Ed Fielding’s e-mail is email@example.com and phone is 288-5421
Ed Ciampi’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone is 221-1357
Please speak up for the animals.