By Kim Kalunian, WPRO News
After a huge outpouring of support, the East Greenwich Animal Protection League (EGAPL) has happily found a home…at least for now.
Last week EGAPL was in a crisis, fearing they’d be as homeless as the animals in their care. But after a media blitz, overwhelming community support and some behind-the-scenes negotiating, EGAPL will be staying at its current home, the East Greenwich Animal Hospital.
Late last month, the owners of the East Greenwich Animal Hospital informed the volunteers at EGAPL that they would need to go elsewhere. The hospital was closing due to financial reasons, and they could no longer rent space to EGAPL.
With less than two weeks to find a new space for the dogs and cats in their care, EGAPL called on the community for ideas.
Hundreds of people responded, offering suggestions, leads on buildings, donations and support. There was even a line out the door last Sunday as people waited to submit applications to adopt or foster EGAPL’s animals.
EGAPL looked at other options, but when the owners of the East Greenwich Animal Hospital offered them an extension of their lease earlier this week, they agreed to sign. On Friday, EGAPL signed a month-to-month, 30 day lease with the owners of the hospital.
“At first they were not willing to allow us rent space here,” said Tammy Flanagan, President of EGAPL. “But after a lot of back and forth they did feel that it was in their best interest as well as the best interest of the animals.”
One of the problems that the all-volunteer league faces now is how to provide around-the-clock care for their animals. Previously, pay for kennel staff was bundled into their rent, but now that the hospital is closed and the staff is gone, they’re looking for volunteers that will help clean cages and walk and feed the animals. Flanagan said she will be holding a training session for those interested in helping at the hospital on Saturday, April 4 from noon to 2 p.m.
The closure of the hospital does give EGAPL one benefit: they can now hold adoption hours multiple times during the week, instead of being restricted to a two-hour window on Sundays. Flanagan said they are working to determine when those new adoption hours will be.
Though the league is renting the space, the building on Post Road in East Greenwich is currently up for sale, and the lease includes a clause that would give EGAPL a 30 day notice if they need to vacate. Flanagan said EGAPL will continue with their “PAWS-abilities” campaign to raise money for them to buy a shelter of their own.
Flanagan said several people have offered her leads on potential buildings that the league could purchase.
“We’re not about to sit stagnant here,” said Flanagan. “We do know that this is month-to-month. It’s a short term solution. We still need to keep moving forward to find our own building to open our own shelter in.”
EGAPL is a non-profit, no-kill shelter that has been helping homeless animals for more than 30 years. The league rescues dogs from the south, but is also the municipal shelter for East Greenwich cats and dogs. EGAPL moved into the East Greenwich Animal Hospital just over a year ago, relocating from the Greenwich Bay Animal Hospital just down the road.
EGAPL holds adoption hours every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East Greenwich Animal Hospital, 4302 Post Road. They will be closed this Sunday for Easter. Like them on Facebook for more information.
Note: Kim Kalunian is a volunteer with the East Greenwich Animal Protection League.