Dog days upon us

By Keith Strange

August 7, 2014

This year, an event that has become a hallmark of Surry County summers is going to address what organizers say is a growing problem in the county.

For the first time, proceeds from the annual Dog Days of Summer will be used to help control the feral cat population in the county, according to Jane Taylor of Mayberry4Paws.

Taylor said cat overpopulation can directly impact how many animals are killed in the local animal shelter, and animal advocates want to do what they can to help.

“There is a huge overpopulation of feral cats in the county,” she said. “There are certain areas where the population is so large that they congregate in huge colonies.”

Such overpopulation, Taylor said, results in both public health and nuisance issues.

“What we’re trying to do is capture them, spay or neuter them, and relocate them to other areas,” she said, noting some farmers in the county welcome the cats, who help control other pests.

This year’s Dog Days of Summer is set for Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. Once again, it will be held at Round Peak Vineyards.

During the event, dogs and cats will be available for adoption through Carolina Canine Rescue, Save a Mutt Kennel and Surry County Animal Control.

In addition to being a place where pets and their owners can get together in a beautiful setting, organizers say there will be plenty for both two-legged and four-legged attendees.

Canine demonstrations will be held at 1:30 p.m., and fun doggie contests will be held at 2:30 p.m.

“We’re going to have canine bobbing for hot dogs, a doggie pie-eating contest, and peanut butter kissing,” Taylor said.

Prizes will be awarded for the biggest and smallest dogs, the dog with the longest ears and the fuzziest dogs.

“The purpose of this event is two-fold,” Taylor said. “We want to have a chance for people to get outside and have fun with their pets, but it’s also about education.

“We’re going to have rescues there with cats and dogs for adoption, and this is about educating the public on the benefits of adopting a rescue pet rather than buying one. Backyard breeders and puppy meals are a huge problem in our state, and these shelter animals are there waiting for a family to love,” she said. “I honestly think we’re making a difference.”

For the two-legged attendees, beer and wine tastings will be available, and Mayberry4Paws will offer barbecue and all the fixins’, Taylor said.

The event is free and open to the public, and all dogs must be kept on a leash and be current on rabies vaccinations.

For more information, contact Theresa Lyons at 859-325-0428.

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter.