WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Angered animal advocates in Wallingford are not letting up after weeks of protests, demanding AC units be placed in the town’s animal shelter. They rallied during a town council meeting Tuesday evening, where local leaders addressed the lack of AC units at the animal shelter.
In the dog days of summer, the kennels reach extreme temperatures with little to no relief for the pets, which one resident says is animal cruelty.
“We don’t want to be in 91-degree temperatures and we don’t have a fur coat,” said Bruce Conry of Wallingford. “It’s our responsibility for us to take care of them, so ‘heartbreaking’ doesn’t even begin to explain how I feel when I think of them stuck in a kennel.”
Advocates said the town has more than $700,000 in its Dog Pound Trust Fund for improvements and repairs, yet it hasn’t installed AC units.
“There is a fund for about $700,000 that a woman who had passed away left to the shelter to use for any of the shelter’s needs and the animals, and the bottom line is the mayor has not touched that fund in about 12 years and we think he should start using it,” said animal advocate Mariah Melendez.
News 8 has learned the mayor recently hired an animal control officer for the town, but advocates said that hire doesn’t address the real issue: the health and wellness of the shelter animals.
“What a lot of people don’t understand is that the humidity plays such a huge factor for these animals,” said Melendez. “We really just want the mayor to have some compassion and see how people have said ‘oh they’re fine’ and they’re really not. We want the mayor to release the funds.”
The mayor says the money is under the authority of the council – outside of the current 2021-2022 budget – but the use of that money has to be approved by both executive and legislative authority.
He added that he wants to hear from his newly appointed animal control officer before deciding on adding those AC units.
Still, these local advocates say this decision cannot wait.
“The thing is, it doesn’t even dip into taxpayer funds. It was bequeathed from one person’s estate. There are other donations and they still remain underfunded,” said Aili McKeen of Wallingford.
The town council voted Tuesday night to take up the issue of installing ACs at the next ordinance meeting, which is set for sometime next month.
It is important to note no decision was made on installing those ACs Tuesday night and temperatures are expected to be in the high 80s to low 90s by the end of the workweek.