The owner of an animal rescue program wants to rent the vacant Oak Bluffs dog pound and use it to keep rescued dogs who are waiting for new homes.
Leslie Hurd, who runs Angels Saving Helpless Animals, retrieves stray dogs from the Caribbean Islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas, and works to place them in homes on the Island.
The town facility, located behind the highway department on County Road, has stood empty for years. Mrs. Hurd said she hopes to use the facility to host dogs for short periods of time between foster care and adoption.
“There is a shortage of dogs on the Vineyard,” she said, adding that families have waited as long as one year for a dog to become available at the animal shelter in Edgartown. The shelter does not accept animals from off-Island.
“I am not trying to overpopulate or bring anything here that is not wanted,” Mrs. Hurd said.
Selectmen were open to the idea as long as it didn’t cost the town any money, but said there would be questions about liability and insurance to settle. And the town would need to develop a request for proposals and solicit bids for the rental.
“Can the town do this, should the town do this, and how is it going to work with the town?” said selectman Gail Barmakian.
“I like the idea of using a facility that’s just sitting there,” said board chairman Walter Vail.
Town administrator Robert Whritenour said he will investigate the legal requirements of renting town facilities to private entities and report back to the board.