Bowie Animal Holding Facility
For many years, the members of Bowie CLAW have advocated for a small animal shelter or holding facility which would allow Bowie’s lost and stray pets to stay locally for several days before being transported to the County facility in Upper Marlboro. We are thrilled to announce that our efforts have been successful and the City of Bowie has opened a short-term animal holding facility housed within City Hall. The facility is owned and operated by the City of Bowie and Bowie Animal Control, and has the capacity to hold several dogs and numerous cats on a short-term basis.
Bowie CLAW is proud to have donated $104,000 to the City to help fund construction of the facility and defray the costs borne by the taxpayers of Bowie. This fulfills our long-held goal and our previously stated promise to financially support the shelter. The figure of $104,000 represents the entirety of Bowie CLAW’s Shelter Fund, money obtained privately and set aside over the past several years with this goal in mind.
Consistent with Bowie CLAW’s enduring interest in local animal welfare and our financial support for the short-term holding facility, we hope to remain intimately involved in the operation of the facility as it evolves and is in active use. Our actions will continue to be motivated by the same objectives that have motivated CLAW’s lobbying efforts since its inception. We hope that the facility will serve the following objectives:
- First, it can make it easier for Bowie citizens to locate their lost pets. Until the Bowie facility opens, Bowie citizens who have lost their pet must go to the County facility. It is almost an hour round-trip to the County facility and there is no guarantee that their pet will even be there. Further, if the pet is there, a Bowie citizen must pay almost $250 in fines to get their pet returned. And none of these fines go to support the work of our own Bowie Animal Control office.
- Second, if the original owner cannot be located, the Bowie facility might allow time to locate a rescue group or to save the animal. The County facility is over capacity. A dog or cat is fortunate to have five days before it is put up for adoption or euthanized.
- Third, the local facility could allow more time for an animal to be monitored and medically evaluated to determine whether they would qualify for fostering. Bowie CLAW hopes to support a fostering program and encourage citizens to adopt these special animals rather than continue to support the breeding and selling of pets.
- Fourth, the facility could also be used as a disaster preparedness shelter. Citizens of Bowie who must evacuate their homes often fear for the safety of their animals. At times, this fear causes them to not evacuate an unsafe home. If citizens felt assured that their pet will be cared for during the evacuation, they may take better care to protect themselves, their families, and their pets. Moreover, it is a national mandate for cities to provide a safe harbor for animals. Currently, Bowie is only able to offer a list of hotels.
- Five, a local facility “able to better unite owner and pet, secure support from local rescue groups and fostering” would certainly ease the burden on the County. Given population growth in PG and the interest in pet ownership (as measured by the issuance of pet licenses), the County facility cannot properly handle all of the needy animals of the County alone. Greenbelt, with a small facility of its own, is the only other city in PG County that even attempts to reduce the County facility’s burden. Bowie will now support another local facility.