CUMBERLAND – Cumberland’s new Animal Control Officer has always had a passion for working with animals, and now Shelby Boudreaux’s career dreams are coming true.
“I’ve always been an animal lover, ever since I was a kid,” Boudreaux, whose first day was Aug. 23, told The Breeze in an interview at the Blackstone Valley Municipal Animal Shelter, 25 Wellington Road in Lincoln, where Cumberland and Lincoln share animal control offices.
“I am very grateful,” she said of her new position. “I’m really, really happy to be here and to make a difference for everyone.”
Boudreaux, from Cranston, comes to Cumberland from the Cranston Animal Shelter where she worked as an adoptions coordinator, and during her tenure she found homes for over 500 dogs and cats. At Cranston, she would assist the animal control officer with investigations, complaints and cases of abuse and neglect, she said.
After high school, Boudreaux graduated from New England Tech’s veterinary technology program in 2014 and worked in the field for a year before hooking up with someone at Cranston Animal Shelter in 2015.
“Since then, I’ve been in love with life in a shelter,” she said. In 2016, she was named Shelter Worker of the Year by Handsome Dan’s Rescue.
In her first few weeks, Boudreaux said she had met many Cumberland Town Hall staff, EMS and members of the public.
“I get a lot of phone calls,” she said.
Cumberland and Lincoln currently share the animal shelter on Wellington Road, which the town of Smithfield also used until it terminated its contract in June to join Johnston and North Providence.
The New England Humane Society, a nonprofit animal rescue group, currently occupies the old Cumberland Animal Control building on Martin Street.
Mayor Jeff Mutter told The Breeze that at this point there was nothing in the works for Cumberland to leave the shared space.
“We’re really happy to have Shelby on board,” he said, adding that they were doing everything step by step. “We have no complaints with Lincoln.”
The current situation was negotiated before Mutter became mayor, he said, adding that if he had been in charge he was not sure he would have agreed, preferring instead to keep the service at Cumberland.
“This is the situation right now,” he said. “We are satisfied with the arrangement as it is.
As Boudreaux settles into her role, she said some calls are difficult while others can be entertaining. She recently helped one of Lincoln’s animal control officers net fish and catch a house turkey.
“So far, this is the only really funny one,” she said. “I know there will be many more, which I look forward to. You never know what you will get.
As part of her role, she works with the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island in North Kingstown and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, she said, and assists Lincoln animal control officers when needed. .
“Every day is different,” she said. “I never know what the day will bring me.”
When asked what his philosophy was, Boudreaux said his goal was to reunite animals with their owners or find them a home, “to ensure that all animals are safe and taken care of and that ‘they are generally happy and healthy.
In addition to working with animals, Boudreaux said she also enjoys working with the public.
“Being involved in the community is really my favorite thing to do,” she said. “I have a lot of ideas.
Part of her mission as an Animal Control Officer is to do more outreach to the community, starting with launching a Facebook page where she promotes animals for adoption, she said. declared. The shelter currently has a dog, Annabelle, a 2.5 year old mixed breed, available for adoption. Boudreaux said Annabelle was up to date on her vaccinations and would be better off in an adult-only home with no cats or small dogs.
“I love promoting them and making sure they can have a home,” she said of the animals at the shelter.
She will also share information about lost or found pets, she added.
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Boudreaux said she would give updates at Cumberland City Council meetings on what she was working on and her plans.
“During the short time she’s here, I appreciate not only her credentials but also her energy,” Mutter said. “I have full confidence that she will make significant improvements (at the shelter). ”
When asked what brought her to Cumberland, Boudreaux replied that she wanted a change and everyone in Cumberland seemed really excited.
“I was really excited to start a new chapter. I know I’ll be there for the long haul, ”she said. “Everyone looks so nice and really helpful.”
Her message to residents, she said, is to allow their dogs, make sure pets are up to date with rabies vaccines and follow leash laws in Rhode Island.
“Always adopt,” she added. “There are so many rescues.
Boudreaux has six pets at home: four cats, a dog and a turtle, who all get along, she says.
Her husband and family have been big supporters, she said. “They know I’ve wanted to do something like this forever.”