Underdogs at the Burlington County Animal Alliance
Jeannie O’Sullivan, a staff writer for www.phillyburbs.com, published in article named “Underdogs — and cats — have a friend in the Burlington County Animal Alliance” on Monday, August 26, 2013. She notes the assistance Pilots a Paws gives to the the Burlington County Animal Alliance.
WILLINGBORO — For the past 14 years, more than 1,000 dogs and cats slated for death ended up living.
Most were in kill shelters. Some came from individuals who couldn’t care for them anymore. Others escaped horrific lives of abuse and or neglect.
Yet all had stories destined for a happy ending thanks to the volunteers behind the Burlington County Animal Alliance. The organization formed in 1999 to help the underdogs, no pun intended, find permanent homes.
Founding member and township resident Lorraine Schrieber partnered with a friend and started rescuing shelter animals in their final days before euthanasia. As word spread, the pets eventually would find her.
“Now it’s blossomed into what it is today. People will send us pictures and stories about this animal that needs help. We have taken animals from people who can’t afford them, or have had their house foreclosed on,” Schrieber said, ticking off a few of the scenarios that unite the alliance with the animals.
About 60 percent come from about 10 different shelters around the region, and 40 percent come from individuals. The alliance also works with Pilots-n-Paws, a Landrum, S.C.-based group that arranges animal transports by volunteer pilots.
The animals go to applicants who have been screened and accepted. The new parents pay an adoption fee that covers physical examinations, required vaccinations, heartworm tests and spaying and neutering. Schrieber recalled one recent success story.
“A female chocolate Labrador retriever who lived on a chain outdoors just got adopted,” she said.
In other accomplishments over the years, the alliance also can be credited as one of the squeaky wheels that led to the expansion of the Burlington County Animal Shelter, according to Schrieber.
To make it all happen, Schrieber has built up a network of more than 60 helpers who foster the animals until they’re adopted. A handful were at PetSmart on Saturday, where the alliance’s rescues and potential owners have the opportunity to mingle every Saturday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Ella, a black and white mutt with a pink collar and a yellow “Adopt Me” sign on her leash, was among the preening pets ready for a new family. Her foster mom is Anne Samis, who at 17 is one of the alliance’s youngest volunteers. She’s taken in more than 80 dogs in 18 months.
“Now I’m a puppy person. It’s very rewarding. It teaches you a lot in a little amount of time,” said the Plumsted, Ocean County, resident.
Also grabbing the spotlight was Jimmy, a tiny brown miniature pinscher who relaxed quietly in his foster mom’s arms. In her nine years of volunteering for the alliance, volunteer Bobbi Gilbert of Edgewater Park has amassed many inspiring tales.
“I once had a little dog that had no lower jaw. We thought we’d never get her adopted yet we found the perfect home for her,” she said.
The public can help support the alliance at two upcoming fundraisers.
The first takes place Tuesday at Ummm, 236 High St. in Burlington City. The ice cream shop will donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to the alliance. Hours are noon to 10 p.m.
The second event is a joint fundraiser benefiting both the alliance and the Sarah Ashley Ferguson Memorial Fund Scholarship Program, named for a Westampton teen who died in 2010 after battling lymphoma. The benefit takes place from 7 to 11 p.m. on Sept. 21 at Moose Lodge #737, 835 Woodlane Road in Mount Holly. Admission is $25 and includes a meal of pasta, roast beef and wings, along with DJ music and karaoke. For reservations and more information, contact Cathy or Charlie at 609-518-2430 or Schrieber at 609-880-1235. For more information about the alliance, visit www.bcaaofnj.org.