After fostering and eventually adopting a pet of their own from the Macon County Animal Control last year, Ken and Tammy Sigler have made it their mission to help find homes for the cats and dogs at the shelter.
“My husband Ken and myself have been volunteering at Animal Control for a few weeks now. It all began a year ago at Pumpkinfest,” remembers Tammy. “We saw a beautiful, but very abused, dog named Teddybear, disguised as a bumblebee at their "Last Chance" Pet Adoption downtown. We took him home as a foster pet and after several months of working with him, decided that we could not be without him in our lives.”
Sigler and her husband visited the animal shelter a few weeks ago and felt compelled to donate their time and effort in helping the pets being held there. “When we went in to Animal Control a few weeks ago, we immediately saw that they needed help — badly,” said Sigler. “My husband goes in and does cleaning and I walk the dogs. These dogs are in a kennel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless a volunteer comes to take them outside. They simply do not have enough help to do anything other than basic needs. The cats do not get any time out likewise, however, Ken tries to spend whatever time he can with them.”
Animal Control is a division of services run by Macon County. With limited funding allocated for services involving animal control ordinances, the shelter largely depends on volunteers. Animal Control provides animals with shelter and other basic needs such as food and water, but the shelter is often overcrowded and in need of community members to volunteer to give the animals adequate attention.
“There are very young puppies there who very much need to be socialized,” said Sigler. “More volunteers are needed and foster homes are needed desperately. Ken and I sat down with the director, John Hook, and discussed ways we could help. I have a lot of ideas. One of the ideas was to set up a Christmas Adoption Tree and I knew just where I wanted to start.”
Sigler worked with Rob Gasbarro and Corey McCall, owners of Outdoor 76, to establish an adoption tree in their storefront window. The tree features adoptable ornaments with photos of pets that are currently available at the shelter. “Outdoor 76 is owned and operated by two of the nicest people I have met in Franklin and as soon as I told them my idea, they agreed,” said Sigler. “They decorated their tree and let us go to town with the pictures of some of the animals at the shelter. These are loving pets who, through no fault of their own, are now in a place where they do not understand what has happened to them. You can see it in their eyes. When you give them the least bit of attention, their eyes light up; they are so grateful.”
The tree is to encourage people to look over the cats and dogs at the shelter and to consider adopting one or even fostering one over the holidays. When the shelter is closed for the holidays, which is expected to be from Saturday, Dec. 22, until Wednesday, Dec. 26, for Christmas, and Saturday Dec. 29, until Wednesday, Jan. 2, for the New Year, the animals will receive no attention from volunteers and will only be cared for by the shelter staff to maintain basic needs such as food and water. The Siglers hope that at the very least, the Christmas Tree at Outdoor 76 will encourage the community to foster an animal over the holiday so they will not be all alone at the shelter.
Both McCall and Gasbarro were eager to partner with Animal Control and the Siglers to extend their community outreach projects. “From the day we drafted the concept for our store, we committed ourselves to being good stewards of our blessings,” said Gasbarro. “We wanted to make sure we were using our resources (time, money, exposure) to benefit our community and initiatives that we felt called to serve as best we could. During the past two holiday seasons we used promotions that incentivized customers to bring in canned food and winter coats for CareNet. We want to use that momentum to serve at least one initiative during the holidays.”
“Anyone who's been in our store knows we're pet lovers - our beloved 14-yr old shop dog,” said McCall. “Mabel, is a product of kill-shelter rescue. We also have two other shop dogs that we normally have around, Charlie and Yonder (Yonder is a rescue dog). We have a huge heart for animals in need and we didn't bat an eye when the Siglers approached us with the opportunity to create awareness for these animals.”
The Siglers are working on other projects that will further increase awareness of the shelter and ways the community can help. “We are also meeting with a representative of the county commission to discuss what, if anything, they can do to help” said Sigler. “Our hope is that the entire town of Franklin comes together to find ways to help these animals.”
For more information about the adoption tree or animal control, contact the shelter at (828)349-2106.