Jul 302014

By Sam Conner

Former Councilwoman Judy Howell delivered an impassioned speech on the animal control facility during the July 22 Winslow City Council meeting. Howell noted that animals are not a political issue, but are special to her. She said that she will always fight for animals.

The speech was given during the call to the public and reads as follows.

“On June 24, 2014, I was denied the opportunity to respond to the city manager’s attack on my presentation.

“First, I want to make one thing perfectly clear to the new city manager. The Animal Control Facility and the animals are not, I repeat are not, a political issue. Animals are special to me, I care about them. I am not going away. I will fight for the animals, always.

“Second: I have been advocating for the animals or several years. My goal is to make sure every animal at the shelter is treated humanely and given a chance to find a forever home. When I started there was no heat for the animals and dogs were freezing to death. Many animals were being killed for no reason other than they had been there long enough.

“It has taken several years, but now the animals are not being killed or freezing to death. They are provided with ample food and water. (Except for a recent episode of two dogs without food or water.) They have insulated doghouses, blankets, heat in the winter, shade in the summer and play time. A windbreak was built to reduce the dust in the summer and the cold wind in the winter. And last, but not least, many animals are being adopted out. They are getting their forever homes, which all domestic animals deserve to have. I am proud of what has been accomplished over the years with my continuous advocating for the animals.

“I do not intend to stand silently by and watch all that has been accomplished go down the drain.

“Again, I sincerely feel that if a smaller animal shelter is built, it will become a kill shelter. Maybe not during your term as city manager, or the council’s term in office, but a smaller shelter gives the perfect excuse to the right, or perhaps I should say the wrong person to not keep the animals or try to find homes for them. Just hold for 72 hours and then kill them.

“This has happened before, more than once. The last time was when City Manager John Roche and council members decided to oust the Humane Society and have the city take over the Animal Shelters. That was when all of the problems started. It has taken years and two city managers to get to where we are today.

“I will not stand by and let this happen again without fighting against it with continuous advocating for the continued humane treatment of our four-legged friends.

“And by the way the council did vote on Feb. 25, 2014, with a six to nothing vote (Councilman Cake was absent) to spend $200,000 to improve a county road. The same night the council voted to save $150,000 by building a smaller Animal Control Facility. The fact that the city did not receive the grant, so the road will not be improved/built, does not erase the fact. You were willing to spend $200,000 on a county (not city) road, but not willing to spend the extra $150,000 on a larger facility.”