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Mansfield Magazine

Breaking Misconceptions, Helping the Community at Mansfield Animal Care & Control

Jan 16, 2017 06:26PM ● By Melanie Heisinger
Meet Bear, one of the most
recent adoptions from Mansfield
Animal Care & Control.

We all know that it's so great to adopt. Not only are you adding even more love into your family, but providing a home for an animal that might not have had the chance otherwise. 

About every other month or so, we love to feature one of these animals as part of our "Pet of the Month" feature. We posted an article a few months back, "Pet of the Month: Kitten Edition." In this article, we featured kittens from Mansfield Animal Care & Control that were in need of adopting. However, we were left with more questions about what they do and how they serve the local community. 

Luckily, we were able to get in touch with Lori Strittmatter, Animal Care & Control manager. Lori, who is married with 7 boys, got into animal welfare in 1998 after she adopted a pit bull from the Humane Society of North Texas. After that, working with shelter animals was a clear path for her. 

Lori initially worked at the Humane Society of North Texas as an adoption counselor, but quickly decided she wanted to have more of an impact on the animals before they were surrendered to a shelter. She then went on to become an Animal Control Officer with the City of Fort Worth.

However, according to Lori, despite learning a lot from her time there, "the constant influx of animals took its toll emotionally, and I needed to find a space that I could have more of a decision in the outcome of the animals lives."

As a result, she came to work for Mansfield in 2003 as a part time Kennel Technician/Receptionist. Since then, Lori has worked as an Animal Control Officer, Senior Animal Control Officer, and is now the Mansfield Animal Care & Control Manager, in which she began in January of 2011.

Her job now is to oversee daily shelter, as well as field, activities. Read on to learn more about Lori, as well as the great work Mansfield Animal Care & Control is doing within the community for our animals. 

Tell us a little bit about the shelter. When and how did it get started?

I know that the oldest buildings here are from about 1996, but these replaced an older building so not really sure exactly how long animal control has been in Mansfield. I started here in 2003 and it was just our lobby building at that time. It's called the "stray" building. Since then, we have added an adoption building and a quarantine building, as well as two livestock areas complete with small barns.

How many animals are there, on average? How are they cared for?

It depends on the time of year, but we typically stay pretty full. Once the remodel is complete in the stray kennel, we will be able to hold approximately 50-55 dogs and about 40 cats. We have two full time Kennel Technicians & Veterinary Technicians that spend their days cleaning, socializing, playing with and taking care of the medical needs of all of our shelter animals.  

What's something people usually assume about the shelter? What do people usually assume that's incorrect?

Featured Adoptable Pet: Meet General.

I could get on a soapbox here, but I will try not to!  

Most people are still under the assumption that we are a dog pound and that we are the "dog catchers."  I will often correct people, because when I think of dog pounds and dog catchers, I think of a more depressing situation such as something I experienced as a child.

I remember vividly driving home from a shelter as a kid crying my eyes out because there were signs on some of the animals cages that said, "Please save me, today is my last day." That small trip made a huge impact on my life. I know that I will never be a part of that type of dog pound.  

Our shelter is actually pretty progressive. Whenever someone refers to us in a negative light, we will typically ask them if they have ever been to our shelter and the response is almost always no. We then invite them to come down and see what we are about. Our shelter is a happy place, we practically live here, too! The shelter has a welcoming atmosphere. Our animals are well cared for, we provide all medical care for adoptable animals, and we don't pass on the expenses to the new owners. Our animals are let out to play throughout the day and interacted with almost constantly.

We also try to help the community with their own animals. We try to have as many low-income-households' pets spayed and neutered as possible. We provide dog houses if they are needed. We work with other departments and community groups to try to help with other social services and needs within the households. Before the last freeze, we were out handing out blankets and jackets to outdoor animals. We really try to make our town as animal-friendly as possible. We work so hard to change people's perception that we do nothing for these animals other than euthanize them. 

Off my soapbox!

What is your personal favorite aspect of the shelter and its mission?

My favorite part of this shelter is that we all work towards a common goal, whether it is with the atmosphere of the shelter or what we can do within the community. I am very fortunate to have a great staff that is just as passionate as I am.

What's one of your most memorable moments while working there?

There are so many, we always joke that we should write a book.  

One memory that sticks out was a flood a couple of years ago. There were several cows and calves in a pasture that had flooded out. Two Animal Control Officers and I were out in the freezing cold water physically pulling live cows out of the water and into a barn where we had a vet waiting for care. Surprising enough, we were able to save all but one, a calf was touch and go for awhile but we were able to get her medical attention and warmed up and she was able to make a full recovery.

How people can get involved?

We have two donation funds at the shelter. One fund allows us to help make the animals' stay here more comfortable, so we use it for minor shelter improvements. For example, we have put in a small grooming area, had music put in the kennels, helped do some of the repainting, and so on.

We also have the "Lucky Fund," which supports the medical care of the animals. It was named after a dog named "Lucky" that was brought into the animal shelter after being hit by a car several days prior. At the time, we were scrambling for money to help with medical care but didn't have much. We scraped together enough to be able to do the surgery that he needed but sadly, the infection from not being treated immediately was too much and he passed away on the surgery table.  

After that, we started the "Lucky Fund" which has done pretty well. With it, we are able to help animals that come in sick or injured. We have done amputations, heart worm treatments, parvo treatments, treated mange, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  

Our volunteer program is very limited because we are such a small staff and we have a lot of requirements to be able to volunteer.  We do however work with the community on specific projects, such as dog house building and shelter projects.  I am a project person so I almost always have something going on! 

To learn more about Mansfield Animal Care & Control 407 Industrial Blvd., Mansfield, TX, you can stop by, visit their website or give them a call at (817) 276-4799.

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