Animal welfare group to disband, distribute $500,000 in assets

City and private agencies receive unexpected gifts

June 16, 1999|By Zerline A. Hughes | Zerline A. Hughes,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

In what will be the last act of the Animal Welfare League of Greater Baltimore, officers are donating $500,000 in assets and property to animal organizations around the state before disbanding in September.

The 30-year-old organization closed its Gibbons Avenue office nearly a year ago because it had few staffers and little community involvement. The $500,000 is from donations received before the league members and officers decided to close.

More than $300,000 in money and property has been awarded to agencies in Frederick, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties and Baltimore. Those receiving money are the Maryland SPCA, Days Inn Horse Farm, Tri-County Animal Shelter, Wild Bird Rescue and Baltimore's Bureau of Animal Control. The rest of the money will be distributed in the next few months.

The bulk of the money was donated from the estates of longtime members Anne Purnell and Mary Dempsey shortly before the league decided to close. The league had discussed plans to open a retirement home that would allow pets, but not enough potential residents expressed interest.

"We decided to get a wish list of smaller organizations that needed funding," said Deborah Brown, league spokeswoman. "That's where we're at now. We have made our decision on which organizations will get certain funding, and we've been in the process of donating that money."

Earlier this month, Baltimore's Bureau of Animal Control received $50,000 to help redesign its computer systems, add employees and buy bite-proof gloves and reflective raincoats. Last week, the bureau received $14,600 more to install air conditioning in eight new rescue trucks.

"This is an interesting example of a private organization helping a municipal corporation, i.e., the city of Baltimore," said Bob Anderson, animal control director. "They are contributing to the animal control agency for things that are not really in the city's budget. We figure this will do good for the animals."

With the money, the Bureau of Animal Control will be able to link its computer system with the city Police Department. Bureau studies have shown a correlation between abuse involving animals, spouses and children, Anderson said. Linking the computers would help both agencies keep track of animal abusers who may assault people later.

Among the other awards was one to the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for $50,000 and an undisclosed amount to Wild Bird Rescue.

The Days Inn Horse Farm in Frederick County received a house owned by the league on Erdman Avenue in Baltimore valued at $150,000. The horse farm rescues and rehabilitates neglected horses from abandoned properties or abusive owners and puts them up for adoption. Days Inn officials have not decided on a use for the house.

The Tri-County Animal Shelter, which rescues animals from streets and serves as an animal adoption agency for St. Mary's, Calvert and Charles counties, will receive $60,000 to add a physical exam room and an adoption facility to its shelter in Hughesville.

"Without this grant, we would remain cramped in the facilities that we are definitely outgrowing," said John Mudd, shelter supervisor.

Elizabeth E. W. Kirk, president of the league, was out of town and could not be reached to comment.

Pub Date: 6/16/99

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