, Derry, New Hampshire

June 27, 2013

Londonderry officials sign off on pet shelter

By Julie Huss

---- — LONDONDERRY — Pets in town will be kept safe and sound now that officials have signed off on an official emergency shelter plan.

Officials have pondered the idea of a definite plan to shelter pets during storms or power outages when Londonderry High School is open as an official emergency shelter for the region.

There has been a lot of interest in setting up a concrete form of shelter for dogs, cats and other pets, officials said, mostly coming from older citizens who often don't want to leave their pets during a storm or power failure to go to a shelter.

"This has been coming up for quite some time," Town Councilor and Senior Affairs liaison Joe Green said. "It's something the community really needs and wants."

More definitive plans are now in place to give shelter to pets, according to acting fire Chief Darren O'Brien.

He appeared before the Town Council last week to give the latest on what was going to be put in place for animals.

Until now, the town had no shelter plan for pets, O'Brien said.

The shelter will be located at the high school, but in the lower level locker room area at the gym. There would be a separate entrance for animals and all would have to be crated or in carriers.

Pet owners would be responsible for bringing pet food, supplies, and taking care of their daily needs at the shelter. Only shelter residents would be able to bring animals to stay there.

O'Brien said fire department assistant Suzanne Roy did a lot of work on the shelter plan and only a few details need to be worked out before it's official.

"We have a few logistics to iron out," he said.

That includes putting a cleaning company in place once the shelter is closed to clean up after any pets that stayed there.

O'Brien said he is still looking for volunteers with animal experience to help staff the pet shelter when storms hit.

Roy said she has spoken to many seniors who hoped for a special place to shelter their pets.

"That's what really started all this," she said. "(In the past) some came to the shelter and left pets in the car while they came in. Others stayed at home with their animals."

Once the pet shelter draft is finally on paper, information will be available to the public on the town's website.