AC Pup recognizes efforts of Monroe shelter leader

May 16, 2014 

Becky Merritt, director of Monroe County Animal Control in Forsyth, with one of her four-footed charges.

SUSAN EDGE PHOTOGRAPHY

Running an animal control department is never an easy job. Doing it well while gaining the respect of animal rescue groups and the community is even more of a challenge.

That’s what makes Miss Becky Merritt, director of Monroe County Animal Control in Forsyth, so amazing. She’s only been working in animal control for three years, but she’s really made those three years count.

And she’s made a huge impact in Monroe County, all while having just one animal control officer. There are only two employees at Monroe County Animal Control -- Miss Becky and Mr. Alfred Taylor. Being small doesn’t stop them from doing big things for the animals.

Miss Becky took the job of director with no prior animal control experience, but she was determined to make life better for the animals in Forsyth. That’s what she set out to do.

Monroe County approved a sales tax to build a new animal shelter. The new facility opened in October 2011, and Miss Becky went to work.

She started the current animal control program from scratch. She set up protocols she knew would be best for the animals.

One of the most impressive practices Miss Becky implemented was vaccinating and deworming every animal upon entry into the shelter. Because her goal is to have animals adopted, Miss Becky wanted to give each of them the best chance at staying healthy.

Since Miss Becky set out try to save the animals in her shelter rather than euthanize them, she developed strong, mutually respectful relationships with animal rescue groups. She knew the rescue groups were the ticket to get the animals out alive.

Her relationships with rescue groups and volunteers are so successful that she currently works with 15 to 20 groups and numerous volunteers. They help her move animals out to new families, foster homes or transfers to the Northeast.

Another task Miss Becky has is working with aggressive animals. She believes when dogs come into a shelter environment that they’re naturally under a great deal of stress and that their behavior may not be reflective of their true disposition.

So she personally works with them. She has a tender heart for those that are fearful or may have bad behavior and appear aggressive. She’ll spend time with them, comfort them and help them calm down. She has had great success with this approach.

Miss Becky even makes a point to go in the schools to make an impression on young people. She feels that will reap great benefits in the future.

It’s no surprise with her dedication to saving the animals in Monroe County Animal Control that her euthanasia rate is only 10 percent. That’s pretty incredible, especially with only two people running the entire department.

She could use a little help in one area, though. She needs a donation of epoxy garage floor coat and muriatic acid to clean and coat her kennels. And she needs someone with the skills to do it. If you can help, call her at 478-994-7976.

I’m very proud of Miss Becky Merritt. That’s why Monroe County Animal Control is the only municipal animal control in Middle Georgia that’s a member of CARES Homeless Pet Club. Congratulations, Miss Becky.

Send questions to acpup247@yahoo.com. Visit www.acpup.com or like his Facebook page.

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