Fuzzy Fridays with TPD
TPD help shelter animals get furrever homes
TORRINGTON – Millions of dogs, cats and other former pets are abandoned or lost and enter shelters throughout the country every year. Sadly, only so many of these animals are recovered or find new homes. Many animals often end up spending the rest of their lives in shelters, if they’re not euthanized. The Torrington Police Department (TPD) is partnering with the Waggin’ Tails Shelter to draw attention to this issue and help place animals in loving homes.
Every Friday, one of the officers goes up to the shelter to take photos with one of the animals to spotlight them on the “Torrington Police Department” Facebook page. They call the event “Fuzzy Friday.” After the officer spends some time with the animal, loving on them and taking a few photos, they post the photos on the Facebook page with the animal’s name, description and information.
“It’s a fun way to encourage engagement and support adoption of animals who need a home and get our police officers involved in really positive things,” Chief of Police Matt Johnson told the Telegram.
By sharing these animals on their Facebook page and having others share them, it helps more people see the animal and increases the animal’s odds of being adopted. The more people who see the animals, the more likely it is that someone will fall in love with them and want to adopt them.
“It’s been really successful, and the officers have enjoyed it,” Johnson said. “I don’t know that we’ve had 100% placement, but we’ve done well on getting those animals homes. It also helps our community and it connects the police officers to the community.”
Community Service Officer and Manager of the Waggin’ Tail Shelter Teri Shinost said that since they started “Fuzzy Fridays” in March, most of the animals spotlighted so far have been placed in their furrever home.
“We’re always looking for fun ways to do community engagement and support things that are important in our community,” Johnson said. “I was teaching in another agency and saw that they did something kind of similar where they showcased an animal once a week.”
“We appreciate the community’s support for the shelter and for our agency,” he continued. “We’ve seen incredible amounts of support.”
The shelter officially started in 1997, however, the city of Torrington has always had a dog-holding facility. When Shinost started as the animal control officer in 1985, the town’s pound was made up of a small building with a small kennel area.
Shinost said the first building added to the facility was the current office. This building provided a place to meet people away from the animals.
In 2013, they added on to the north side of the building, kennels to the west, a cat room and an isolation room. In 2016, they expanded the food room on the east building and enclosed the back area. Then in 2021, they added a cattery so they could start undertaking the feral cat issue in town.
“All of this came to fruition because of Bob Asbury, a Farmers Insurance agent here, that helped me raise money for [the first addition],” Shinost explained. “Then after that, everything else has been done through donations, memorials and a couple of little estates that we’ve received over the years that paid for everything. The cattery was done when Chief Johnson went to the city council and got some funding from the city.”
The overall plans for the shelter were inspired by other shelter facilities. The shelter is now large enough to have separate areas for cats, small dogs and large dogs, with the addition of an isolation area. Currently, there are 25 dogs and 49 cats at the facility.
Shinost oversees the entire facility with the help of many volunteers. Shinost is at the shelter Tuesday through Saturday. The volunteers come in a couple of times a day, seven days a week.
“Teri is an incredible lady who is super passionate about that facility,” Johnson said. “She has made it what it is today. We have one of the highest-quality shelters in the state and the actual expense for the city is nominal. It is organized and run by Teri and an army of volunteers and they do a tremendous job fundraising to cover the cost of what they need to take care of those animals.”
The Waggin’ Tails Shelter is located at 980 East 11th Avenue in Torrington. The animals currently at the shelter are listed on www.petfinder.com.
Anyone interested in adopting an animal can email Shinost at [email protected] and request an application. After filling out the application, she will make a few phone calls, including contacting landlords to ensure that pets are allowed in the applicant’s home. After the application is approved, the applicant can meet with the animal and take it home.
Male dogs can be adopted for $150, female dogs for $175 and cats for $100. Each animal will be current with all shots and will be spayed or neutered. If the animal is too young to be fixed and receive vaccinations, the applicant will receive a voucher for Goshen Vet Clinic for those services at a later date.
The community can help the shelter in many ways by adopting an animal, making monetary and specific need donations and volunteering. Specific need donations include Purina dog and cat food products, cat and dog treats, cat litter, toys, paper towels, old blankets, bleach, laundry detergent and dryer sheets.
“The number one thing individuals can do to help the shelter be successful is be responsible with their animals,” Johnson said. “By spaying and neutering their animals they can prevent feral animals that reproduce at rates that we can’t support and isn’t good for them. The next thing they can do is look for adoption first when looking for an animal or a pet that they can love in their own home.”
If anyone is interested in volunteering, they should call the shelter at 307-532-5373 and speak with Teri.
“We are ultimately defined by how we treat people, animals and how we care about others,” Johnson said. “It says a lot about who we are as a society as a community and our culture. While we can’t solve every problem and make everything better when we put an effort into caring about the little things that ultimately define us for good and makes us successful, healthy and safer.”
“I think that taking care of animals, showing animals kindness and treating them humanely is incredibly important,” he continued. “That’s why that matters; it defines who we are. We need to recognize that and act accordingly.”