Pet lover Beth Murray stumbled into Bryan County Animal Control by accident, but her love of animals is evident and came early in life. She has a passion for animals and exhausts all options to ensure they receive the proper care until they are placed in the right home.
Her mission is backed by a county that fully supports her efforts to be more than an old fashioned "puppy pound." Down at 250 Dog Lane, animals are being nursed back to health, socialized and being placed into new homes.
In 2009, Murray stepped away from being a pet groomer because of carpel tunnel syndrome. The condition and surgery impacted her ability to groom, but did not diminish her passion. Thomas Sanders of Animal Control in North Bryan reached out to Murray when he came upon an unfortunate situation. They discovered 45 bichon puppies in the trailer of their deceased owner. They were in very bad condition. Murray was asked to help groom the dogs that still had a fighting chance of survival.
Murray decided she would groom all 45 and faithfully stick it out until each and every dog was placed into a home. This incident was eye-opening and brought Murray into the animal control field. She began volunteering on the north end of the county.
Volunteer time eventually developed into a full-time position. With the help of Tommy Foster at the Richmond Hill location, Murray and the small Animal Control team have seen the incredible outpouring of love and support from the community. Locals have stepped up to contribute in many ways. Shelves are stocked with food and have been since February 2014.
"That was the last time I had to buy food," Murray said.
So many in the community have given of their time, energy and money. The Beta Club has helped, a local bus driver took up pet food on the last day of school, Girls Scouts have made toys and blankets, and local kids request pet food at birthday parties instead of receiving birthday gifts. Eagle Scouts have built dog beds, and the Senior Center quilting group makes pillows for the animals with their scraps.
PawParrazi Pet Boutique owner Jane Honor is "the bomb," Murray said.
"She is like fire cracker," Murray said of Honor. "If it is right it’s right, and if it’s wrong it’s wrong. Dana Lewis has helped me tremendously in getting awareness out into the community."
Murray feels strongly about being selective with the rescue agencies with which she aligns herself.
"I don’t want to work with every rescue," she said. "I think every animal should be spayed or neutered. Coastal Pet Rescue is who I work with. Cheryl Garland and her team are amazing. I have seen them go all the way to Miami to pick up a pit mix. We are willing to stand by the animal and rescue it for life. I knew I wanted to align with them."
With the help of the community and groups like Coastal Pet Rescue, Murray is able to avoid having to euthanize in most cases.
"The county allows me to do what I need to do," she said.
For more on the Bryan County Animal Control, go to www.facebook.com/BryanCoAnimalControl. For more on Coastal Pet Rescue, go to coastalpetrescue.org.