On what would have been her 71st birthday, Tuesday, October 9, former County Commissioner Linda L. Kelley was honored at the ribbon cutting for the new animal shelter that will bear her name – The Linda L. Kelley Animal Shelter. Known as a vocal and committed advocate of animal rights, Ms. Kelley had worked long and hard to have a state-of-the-art facility built in Calvert County. Located at 5055 Hallowing Point Road, Prince Frederick, the shelter will provide a safe haven for animals.
Linda Kelley served as a County Commissioner from 1994 through 2010. She was a woman of deep compassion and convictions. In addition to her deep beliefs in animal rights, Kelley believed in people – the homeless, women, grandparents, and the environment. She was credited with spearheading many county initiatives including Safe Harbor, Calvert County’s shelter for abused women and children.
Jackie Vaughn, Director, Department of Public Safety, opened the program. Vaughn said this was a proud moment for her, Kelley had been a friend and mentor, and she was very happy to see the project come to fruition. The many guests in attendance included Kelley’s family, friends, and former colleagues.
Evan Slaughenhoupt, President of the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), said this project was a great example of a public/private partnership. In May 2016, the BOCC entered into a public/private partnership with Marrick Properties to lease a facility for a new animal shelter. In the partnership, Marrick Properties would build the shelter and rent it to the County. The partnership provided an option allowing the County to purchase the building at a later date. That option was exercised on September 11, when the County purchased the animal shelter for $6.1 million, averting lease payments of approximately $46,000 per month. The purchase was funded by the issuance of general obligation bonds. “With this purchase,” Slaughenhoupt said, “the biggest winners are the taxpayers.”
The shelter will be run under the direction of the Calvert County Department of Public Safety. Crystal Dowd, Animal Shelter Division Chief, said “It is an honor to serve the citizens of Calvert County and live up to Linda’s wishes and vision for the Animal Shelter.” The building also houses the Animal Control Division.
The state-of-the-art facility includes a 12.910 square foot building that will house healthy and treatable animals and a 1,380 square foot barn for large animals like horses and livestock. It will hold approximately 200 animals. Only terminally ill animals or those considered dangerous to public safety will be euthanized. It is the goal of the facility to treat all animals humanely.
Animals will call this a home for a while. It will be a safe haven, with fenced in play yards and clean quarters. It will include a free-roam cat room, a dog room with seven kennels, and dedicated grooming and bathing areas for the animals. There will be a section for exotic animals. Education and pet programs will be available for the public.
Ms. Kelley’s husband, Tom, and her family – granddaughter Sara DePompa and her husband Matt, and great grandsons Trevor and Trenton DePompa – always supported Linda’s beliefs and convictions. Tom Kelley said the facility was built just as Linda would have wanted it, “effective, efficient, economical, and on-time. This is a great way to commemorate Linda. This is her dream come true and she is smiling down on us.”
Final touches are being completed at the facility. Staff are moving in equipment and furniture. At a recent BOCC meeting, fees were determined. Adoption fees will assist with the offset of any services provided to prepare the animal for adoption, including rabies vaccination, spay/neuter surgeries, and screening tests for common diseases. Adoption fees will be waived for animal rescue partners approved to receive animals. When an animal has been found and kept at the shelter, the fee for redemption will include any administrative costs to process the animal through the shelter and the cost of daily care, feeding, medical procedures, and veterinary care required to humanely house the owned animals. A provision is in place to waive or lower the cost when an owner of an animal can prove financial hardship.
The Linda Kelley Animal Shelter officially opens for business on November 1. To learn more about how you can help the Linda Kelley Animal Shelter visit: http://www.co.cal.md.us/index.aspx?NID=2324
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon Reporter