As the new shelter manager for the Animal Care Center of St. John, Ryan Moore is overseeing the care of 13 dogs and about 30 cats in the organization’s Estate Enighed no kill shelter, as well as organizing adoptions and volunteer help and more.
Having already worked for the ACC for more than a year, however, Moore knew exactly what he was signing up for, he explained.
“I’ve always loved animals and I started working here part time walking dogs and cleaning kennels in December 2011,” said Moore. “Then I started working full time as a kennel tech and helping out [former shelter manager] Kate [Webster] with whatever she needed.”
Originally from Connecticut, Moore previously worked at the Mystic Seaport Museum and at kennels in his home state. He first applied for the ACC shelter manager position a year and a half ago when the group decided to hire Kate Webster.
When Webster recently returned to Buffalo, New York, Moore applied for the job once again, he explained.
“I applied for the job before and then told them that I still wanted the job when Kate was leaving,” said Moore. “I started right away and it went pretty smoothly.”
In addition to intimate knowledge of the shelter operations, Moore brings a love for animals and years of experience working with animals to the shelter manager post.
Moore’s favorite part of the job, however, is finding new homes for the shelter resident animals.
“I love dealing with the animals,” said Moore. “But my favorite part of this job is actually finding homes for the animals. Many of these animals come from pretty crappy backgrounds.”
Moore is offering free pet registration for the entire month of April. While registering pets is required by law in the Virgin Islands, not many pet owners actually comply. The process only takes a few minutes and usually costs $10.
Anytime during April, however, residents can stop by the ACC shelter and register their pets for free, Moore explained.
“You just have to fill out a quick form and you’ll get a tag with an identification number which you put on your pet’s collar,” he said.
Registering pets also allows ACC officials to identify a dog which is brought to the shelter, which has already occurred, Moore added.
“It’s already worked this week,” he said. “We had someone whose dog got loose and someone brought it to us. The owner came by to get his pet and registered the dog and then this next week the dog got loose again.”
“Since the dog was registered, we were able to identify the owner and get in touch with him right away,” said Moore.
The ACC’s new shelter manager is also trying to help the organization develop more partnerships with the community, he explained.
“I’m trying to broaden our horizons with the community here,” Moore said. “I want people to know that we are here to help and we’re not trying to tell people what to do. I’d like to educate people about our spay and neuter program and how important it is.”
“We’re working to make the animals here healthier and that’s healthier for the people too,” he said.
Up next for the island’s sole animal welfare organization is the group’s annual zany dog show fundraiser Wagapalooza, scheduled for Saturday, May 18. Keep an eye out in future St. John Tradewinds editions for full details about the event.
In the meantime, residents both on and off island can help support the ACC.
“The animals love company and we love having visitors here at the shelter,” said Moore. “Our Sunday hikes have been great with all of the dogs usually able to be taken out since we have a lot of volunteers who usually come.”
The Sunday morning hikes have become so popular with visitors and locals alike in fact, the Hiking with Hounds program was recently featured in an issue of American Airlines in-flight magazine “American Way.” The program will also be featured in the May issue of Cesar Millan’s magazine “Cesar’s Way,” according to Moore.
Dogs and cats at the shelter also love getting care packages, Moore added.
“We always need donations,” he said. “We are completely non-profit so everything we get goes directly to the general fund to keep the shelter open. People here and in the states can also send care packages of treats, toys, medications, anything is appreciated.”
For more information about the St. John ACC check out the group’s website at www.stjohnanimalcarecenter.com, or stop by the shelter in Estate Enighed Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.