‘Unchain Cumberland County’ helps pets and their families

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Shelby Townsend has spent the last eight years leading the way with “Unchain Cumberland County” in an effort to do everything she can to help dogs and their owners in and around Fayetteville.

These days, the efforts of Unchain Cumberland County are spent controlling the pet population through their spaying and neutering program called the “Big Fixx.”

Every Wednesday at their office on George Owen Road, on land where Townsend grew up, they help sign up dogs to get fixed and if needed, get medical help for little to no money.

“We now have a $50 program, which most people can somehow afford and if they can’t, we pay it for them,” she said. “The main thing is to get those animals spayed and neutered and keep them in their home.”

Since they started spaying and neutering in 2009, shelter intake is down in Cumberland County, but most people that come see Townsend don’t just need help for their dogs.

“We have found that if a pet is in crisis, the family probably is too, so by helping the family get back on their feet by whatever we can provide, it helps protect the home of the animal,” she said.

When CBS North Carolina visited, Sparkle, Watson, Sherlock and Stephanie were visiting and following up after also getting some vet care from the Big Fixx.

But many of the pet owners using their services are homeless or have been at one time.

Angela Chalker worked for animal control for 16 years and now volunteers with the Big Fixx – mainly working with the homeless and their pets.

“When they see me coming, they know that this is the only place going to help their pet and help them with their pet,” Chalker said.

The 71st Animal Hospital in Fayetteville helps Shelby with a lot of the vet care, but it’s not free.

The Big Fixx makes up for what people can’t pay and they also provide food for the pets and humans that they serve.

That food and other supplies have been taken and property vandalized several times in the past several months but Townsend and her team are not discouraged by that one bit!

“I love it, I love it,” she said. “You can’ tell I love what I do. This is my purpose.”

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