What We Do
HART's four main programs are: building the HART Adoption Center, operating the HART Spay/Neuter Clinic, continuing rescue & transport activities, and promoting education and awareness
The HART Adoption Center
The idea to build an animal adoption center in Garrett County began when it became clear that the county would not be able to improve the existing county animal shelter facility due to limited resources and many competing priorities. After four years of working with the county shelter in order to rescue and transport adoptable animals, HART decided to raise private funds to build an animal adoption center.
The motivation was twofold: by building its own facility, HART could rescue a greater number of animals who would be able to wait a longer period for adoption in larger and more comfortable surroundings; and HART could create a new approach to animal sheltering in smaller communities by combining the compassion of animal welfare organizations with the practicality of raising enough revenue to support the rescue and adoption operations. Garrett County could become a shining example of Gandhi’s words, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated… the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."
The HART Animal Adoption Center consists of four sections.
The clinic wing will contain a full-service veterinary hospital, including the low-cost spay/neuter clinic. The revenue from the clinic and the spa will support the operations of the adoption center. The clinic will continue to serve its current low-income clientele by dedicating one day to spay/neuter surgeries and another day to routine veterinary care such as vaccinations and physical exams.
The public reception area will consist of a reception waiting area, a room for pet training and public education, and a small retail shop, as well as operations staff offices.
The spa/boarding area will contain boarding kennels for 25 dogs and 16 cats and a grooming facility. The area will provide comfortable boarding kennels for both visitors to the area and local residents.
The adoption kennels, which will be called "dog dens" and "cat condos," will provide a safe, comfortable home for adoptable homeless animals transferred from the Garrett County Animal Control Shelter. The adoption area will have space for potential adopters to get to know the cat or dog of their choice. The adoption center will hold 60 dogs, 30 puppies, and 40 cats plus multiple litters of kittens.
Our Capital Campaign to Build the Center
Since 2007 when it began its capital campaign, HART has raised a total of $450,000 for the construction of the Animal Adoption Center. The money has been raised from individual donors, business donors, events, direct mailings, and grants. In 2011, HART applied for a Maryland Capital Grant and received $125,000. The total projected cost is $1.5M.
Ground has been broken for the facility, which is located on Bumble Bee Road in McHenry–one and half mile from Garrett College. The foundation will be poured and building construction begin in spring 2012.
Naming opportunities are available to individuals and businesses who wish to make contributions of $500 or more. Donors can sponsor a special area or item in the Adoption Center and have it inscribed in a unique way to honor their business, a member of their family, a friend, or a beloved pet. Your compassion will be recognized for many years to come by placing a plaque next to the structure or item, which we have obtained through your generosity. For more information on giving, contact HART at (301) 387-SPAY  or email email@example.com
HART SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC
The HART Spay/Neuter Clinic opened in November 2009. It currently is located at 24457 Garrett Highway in the McHenry Plaza and represents a key aspect of HART’s effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals in the region.
The HART Spay/Neuter Clinic provides low-cost spay and neuter services to the pets of individuals whose income level would otherwise prevent them from spaying or neutering their pets. Further assistance can be obtained through the spay/neuter programs of other local animal organizations, depending on the owner’s ability to pay. In addition, HART works with other regional rescue groups to spay and neuter their animals prior to adoption.
As the Humane Society of the U.S. points out, in the U.S. as a whole, there are an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. About half of these animals are adopted, and tragically, the other half are euthanized. These are healthy, sweet pets that would have made great companions. These are not just the offspring of homeless "street" animals; they are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets and even purebreds that end up in shelters once they become ‘hard to handle," lost, or cannot be cared for by the original owner. And it’s not just for dogs and cats–rabbits, horses, and other animals also should be spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted behavior and reproduction.
Summer McDowell was born in Keyser, West Virginia. As an adult and a professional in the healthcare industry, Summer lives thousands of miles away from her native city. However, the mountainous city of her birth remains close to her in a very special way: through her love of animals and her desire to help people who want to spay/neuter their animals but may not be able to afford to do so. Summer explains it this way:
"I felt it was important to give back to my hometown in a way that would make a difference. My brother Scott, my friend Amanda Tasker and I rescued many dogs and cats throughout WV, VA, and Minnesota. We've seen how many are put to sleep on a daily basis due to overpopulation. Creating this fund has been a dream of mine. I am so thankful to HART for helping me make it happen. I thank my parents for instilling the sense of responsibility into our core values, for teaching me that taking care of animals is everyone's responsibility."
Summer set up a fund with HART to assist pet owners from Keyser and Mineral County to get their animals spayed or neutered. To apply, people can read the requirements, fill the application and send it along with the necessary supporting documentation by e-mail, fax, or mail. To download the forms, please click on the sign:
To contact HART’s Spay/Neuter Clinic, call 301-387-7729 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
RESCUE & TRANSPORT
Since 2003, HART for Animals, Inc. has been working with the Garrett County Animal Shelter to rescue the animals that arrive at the shelter but not adopted or returned to their owners. Due to the shelter’s space limitations, animals who are not adopted immediately may be euthanized to allow room for other incoming animals. By working cooperatively with the shelter, HART typically is able to transport 50% of these animals to reputable regional rescue groups.
Rescues begin when HART’s Rescue Coordinator visits the shelter, evaluates the animals, and contacts various rescue groups throughout the region to find out where they would have the greatest chance of being adopted. HART then administers any tests and vaccinations that may be required and recruits volunteers to drive the animals to specific locations. The rescues organization evaluates the suitability of eventual adopters and spays or neuters all animals before adoption.
At present, HART does not conduct individual adoptions. All animals rescued by HART are transported to rescue organizations. Adoptions will begin once the HART Adoption Center begins full operation, currently planned for fall 2012. The goal of the HART Adoption Center is to remain connected to the animal and the adopter by offering support throughout the life of the pet through socialization opportunities, training classes, grooming, pet boarding, pet behavior evaluations, and veterinary services–or, if circumstances change in the life of the adopter, by accepting the return of the pet. HART’s adoption policies will be based on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s companion animal welfare principles–freedom from hunger and thirst; from discomfort; from pain, injury or disease; from fear and distress; and freedom to express normal behavior.
Experienced people who foster often make turn an animal that has a low adoption probability into an animal that can find a permanent loving home. HART intends to pursue a solid fostering program for animals that require extra TLC to make it back from the darkness of cruelty or the loneliness of abandonment. At present, however, our animal fostering is limited to one volunteer who works closely with the Rescue Coordinator.
EDUCATION AND AWARENESS
Socialization is one of the most important things you can do for a puppy or newly adopted dog–and cats, too. An unsocialized animal can become confused, scared, and defensive in unfamiliar situations. Properly exposing your puppy or new dog to people and other animals is the best way to help it become a fun, lovable and mild-mannered companion. HART encourages dog owners to:
- Take your pup places–not just to the vet.
- Invite friends or relatives and their well socialized pets to come to your home to visit.
- Once vaccinated, go for frequent walks and visit your local dog park.
- Give your dog–and you–exercise. Behavior problems such as barking, chewing, and digging are often the result of a lack of stimulation.
- Keep kittens and cats inside to prevent disease, the killing of songbirds, and injury from fights or larger animals.
- To make new introductions special, be sure to reward your animal with a treat each time it meets someone new.
HART generally opposes chaining or tethering dogs. An otherwise friendly dog, when kept continually chained and isolated, often becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and aggressive. Chained dogs are much more likely to bite than unchained dogs and cannot escape attacks by other animals or people. Alternatives include installing an electric or other type of fence; building an extra-large dog run; or providing your pet with acceptable places to dig such as its own sandbox. A dog that is inside the house is much more likely to deter an intruder than a dog chained in the yard.
Enroll your dog in an obedience class-especially if its behavior is the main reason you keep your dog outside.
Kindness to animals begins with early education. National animal welfare organizations have many resources to assist schools and parents in teaching responsible pet ownership. Visit the National Humane Education Society for publications and resources. and the American Kennel Club to learn about teaching children how to be safe around dogs.