by Li’l Dan Celdran, pet guardian to 4 sweet kitties (3 from the Greenbelt Animal Shelter)
The Greenbelt Animal Control program was established in 2002. Greenbelt is the only municipality in Prince George’s County to have and operate its own shelter and adoption program. The Animal Control Division prides itself on being ethical and humane in its treatment of animals, including providing positive reinforcement training techniques. The City of Greenbelt uses two veterinarian practices to assist in providing care and treatment of animals. Greenbelt Animal Control operates a no-kill organization.
The shelter can hold 6 single dogs or 12 dogs doubled up. The dogs use the play yard at least 3 times a day, alone or in a playgroup. Three catteries with open colonies allow the cats to room freely, sunbathe in the window, perch on the cat tree or snuggle in a bed.
Every effort is made to place adoptable animals with appropriate adoptive homes. Adoptable animals can be visited at any time by appointment.
Every time I visit the shelter, it is clean and organized. There is calming music being played. For positive reinforcement, there are “catch me being good” pails in which visitors give well-behaved dogs a biscuit treat. The cat’s rooms and dog’s kennels are equipped with clean litter, food, water dishes, and toys. Pictures and pet “biographies” are listed on the doors. The volunteers and staff work together to maintain the space and continue to make improvements by landscaping the welcome area, walking the dogs and socializing the cats, assisting in special events, and providing valuable feedback and ideas to improve operation of the shelter and the animal control program.
- Kissing Booth at Labor Day Festival (receive and/or give kisses to affectionate canines). A new game will be unveiled this year: for a dollar, participants toss bagged (fake) poop into a trash can, and prizes will be awarded. Not only does this sound hilarious; the staff hopes to encourage pet guardians to pick up after their pet. After all, it is the law. Also, GBAS T-shirts will be available for purchase for $20.
- 10th annual Pooch Plunge, a Greenbelt Tradition, where dogs and their people can swim together in the city’s outdoor pool, will be held Sat. Sept. 6th from 10 am-2 pm. Cost: $5/dog (limit 2 dogs/handler). Poop bags provided. (Hint: walk your pup before attending; if there’s a poop incident in the pool, the event will be concluded.)
Staff and volunteers have applied for a spay/neuter grant through the Department of Agriculture. Proposed is a voucher program in which local veterinarians will accept vouchers for pets’ spaying and neutering. (Franklin Park apartments has reduced their pet rate for participants in the program.).
According to Animal Control Officer Lauren Crossed, over 40 volunteers assist with the operations of the shelter. Celia Craze, Director of Planning and Development, emphasizes that “volunteer support is critical to our mission.” For instance, one volunteer has made stools for each cat room so that visitors can sit comfortably. Another team of volunteers has completed steps to become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to be called WAGS (Well Wishers for the Animals of Greenbelt Shelter). Funds will be raised to complete projects like improving the shelter and the shelter yard. Some volunteers want to form an advisory committee that would give input about policies, operations, programs and budget. “Volunteers are encouraged to self-initiate and bring staff ideas,” says Craze.
Ms. Craze also spoke of two current initiatives:
- GBAS is accepting regular donations to assist with extraordinary, treatable medical procedures (e.g. eye surgery for the dog Rocky, who now lives with his new forever-family) for adoptable cats and dogs.
- The volunteers have created a landscaping committee. Current projects: creating a durable, low-maintenance yard (without dirt) and adding features to the fencing to improve security and crafting an intimate “getting to know you” space where potential adopters can meet with a dog in a designated area.
Interested persons complete a volunteer application and attend the volunteer orientation. Volunteers apply their unique skills to the shelter in many different ways: social media outreach, event-planning, fundraising, organizing, dog-walking, cat-socializing (e.g. petting, brushing), fostering, and holding adoption events, to name a few. Every positive interaction benefits the animals. To become a volunteer, contact Lauren Crossed by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelter location and phone: 550A Crescent Rd (behind the Greenbelt Police Station) Greenbelt, Maryland. (240) 508-7533
Hours: The shelter is open Wednesdays 4-7 pm and Saturdays 8 am-noon to visitors.
“Like” Greenbelt Animal Shelter to view adoptable pets.