By Marny Malin, Belvoir EagleAugust 12, 2011
Steve Watters doesn’t seem to have any problem catching the more than 100 dogs and cats lost or discarded on post each year. An animal lover, he was raised on a farm in Wisconsin and has always enjoyed the companionship that animals add to lives.
The problem he has is that they just keep coming he said.
“Whenever we believe we might have gained control on abandoned animals, more appear, typically the influx coincides with moves and vacations,” Watters added.
Watters, Directorate of Public Works, installation pest management coordinator, is at ease with caring for and collecting the drop offs, but he really would like to see it end.
“A pet is a lifetime commitment, a part of your Family you should care for and carefully consider before bringing it into your life. Discarding an animal on post because it has become an inconvenience should not be an option,” said Watters.
“Taking the animal to your local county animal shelter, finding a home with friends or relatives, listing it on Facebook, or arranging with an organization that is breed specific or willing to foster the pet are all responsible options to a drop-off,” said Watters.
“If you can’t take a pet with you, at least take it to one of the area shelters. If let loose on post the animal could be hit by a car or killed by coyotes,” Watters said.
Watters has seen animals struck by vehicles that have had to be euthanized; puppies with canine parvovirus, a highly contagious virus picked up from the fecal matter of raccoons that had to be destroyed; and animals that cannot be adopted because of breed and temperament.
Watters estimates that he is able to return 20 percent of pets to their owners because they have taken the time to micro-chip their dogs. The rest are available for adoption within 72 hours and posted on the Fort Belvoir Facebook page under photos.
“These are all wonderful animals and great breeds. They easily adapt and would be a positive addition in any home,” said Watters.
Fort Belvoir regulations require that a pet be collared and tagged, and registered with proof of current immunizations within five days of securing housing at the Veterinary Clinic at 10015 Theote Road, Bldg 610 (Warren and Theote roads).
For more information on how to register your pet call (703) 805-4336.