By JEN CARDINES
A group of local volunteers has teamed up with the Southington Police Department and made it their mission to give the dog pound a make-over. Spearheaded by Val DePaolo, the group is inviting the public to join them on Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., for “beautification” days.
Both days will involve outdoor work at the dog pound on Woodruff Street.
“Volunteers are welcome, and they can come for as short or as long as they would like to stay,” DePaolo said. “They can bring rakes, shovels, work gloves, etc if they have them.”
The dog pound’s interior already got a major facelift in March when volunteers from Team Depot replaced rusting doors, painted the entryway, office and bathroom, and installed a center island desk for a more professional look at the pound.
They also fixed the wall surrounding an air conditioning unit that posed a safety hazard, pulled up old baseboard trim, and even added a large corkboard on the wall to hang pictures of the animals and post event information. DePaolo was there with volunteers to offer help, and her beautification day idea sprung forward.
Now, officials will turn their attention to the grounds surrounding the facility.
DePaolo hopes to draw a sizable crowd for the clean-up, and she said that this would be a good opportunity for people needing to fulfill volunteer or community service hours.
Sergeant Brian Leppard, who oversees the animal control unit, and animal control officers Joshua Karabin and Colin Narducci will be on site during the clean-up.
“We will be able to sign off on any volunteer work, if needed, as long as they provide the necessary documentation,” Leppard said.
There is no age limit for volunteers willing to help with the project, but anyone under 16 will need supervision.
“If there is a group such as Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, it may be one of their leaders,” said DePaolo.
As part of the project, an outdoor pen will be constructed on the dog pound property, so that the animals can get outside when the weather is nice. The pound currently has no windows, so an outdoor area would allow the officers to bring dogs out into the sunshine.
“Once we get through May, we’re hoping to move forward with an outdoor pen, volunteers to play with the dogs, and coordinating donations and working with adoption groups to get the dogs to a forever home,” said DePaolo.
For those who cannot attend the beautification days but would like to donate some items, DePaolo said that blankets, towels and linens, Milkbone dog biscuits, dog collars, dog leashes, dog toys, and cleaning items such as paper towels, Simple Green dish washing soap, hand sanitizer, scrubbing sponges, and large garbage bags are needed.
Anyone interested in the project can contact Val DePaolo at (860) 877-3233 or Sgt. Leppard through the police department at (860) 378-1600.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.