The next time you enviously eye someone being chauffeured around town in style, it might not be someone wealthy – in fact, it might not even be a human being.
That’s because the Guilford County Animal Services Department is upgrading the way it transports the dogs, cats and other animals that are picked up by Animal Control, taken to adoption fairs or moved around for some other reason. Animal Services just got two new vehicles that are climate controlled, more comfortable for the animals and have other enhancements that give Fido on the go a much better experience than he or his furry friends have had in the past – especially, when it’s very cold in the depths of winter or swelteringly hot in the dog days of summer.
One of the two new vehicles is for everyday use by Animal Control and it signifies the first step in the fleet upgrade. Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega said it should provide a much better experience for the animals.
“The interesting thing with these new animal control vehicles is that the animal holding and transporting compartments are climate-controlled, so they are air-conditioned and they are heated,” he said. “So we are making sure that we’re taking care of our pets while they’re under our care at the facility – but during transport as well.”
He added that the Animal Services Department will gradually be upgrading its other vehicles as replacements are needed. The new rides are better in other ways as well.
“The vehicle is also equipped with emergency lighting all the way around, so those officers who are going on a call – especially at 2 o’clock in the morning responding to a hit-by-a-car [call] off of I-73 – can safely stop the vehicle where it can be seen 360,” he said.
Right now, the existing animal transport vehicles only have hazard lights, something that can make the vehicle itself a hazard if it has to stop on a busy road with poor visibility.
Another big upgrade for animal transport is a 24-foot Companion Animal Support Trailer with 48 built-in kennels. The trailer will serve multiple purposes. It can be used for mass animal pickups or as temporary housing when events such as Hurricane Michael occur.
It will also be used as a mobile adoption transport trailer that will take animals to and from adoption fairs. Once there, it can act as a showroom.
“It has five pull-up doors like a food truck, and it’s all windows so you will be able to see a ‘puppy in the window’ type thing,” Ortega said. “So we will be able to take the trailer on multiple occasions around Guilford County and do off-site adoptions.”
Lisa Lee, Guilford County’s Animal Control supervisor, said the trailer will be great to have for adoption events.
“We are really excited about it and hope to be doing our first event in the very near future,” she said.
The vehicle has a stainless steel interior, a generator, a 30-gallon fresh-water tank with a water-cooling and heating system and a large hose. Ortega said it will make animal transport much better.
Though there are 48 individual compartments in the trailer, some dividers slide out to create larger compartments for bigger animals.
“Unfortunately we can’t have dogs andcats on the trailer because it’s not set up that way,” he said. “So it’s either an off-site cat adoption event or it’s an off-site dog adoption event.”
Apparently, dogs and cats sometimes have a tendency to display animosity toward one another.
Animal Services is currently waiting for tags on the trailer.
“I can’t wait to roll out with that – it’s big, it’s heavy, but it’s awesome,” Ortega said.