Two Events to Benefit Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter

Sep 25, 2018

There’s a long-standing legend that the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter becomes crammed with animals every fall as summer residents of our area return to their normal climes and decide a dog or cat can’t come with them because of apartment restrictions and the like. It’s claimed they abandon their pets, either officially to the shelter or, more disgustingly, on the streets. Over the years this writer has heard both sides of that story numerous times.

Some people say the legend is exactly that, a legend, because there aren’t near as many full-time “summer people” on LBI as there used to be decades ago, what with homeowners deciding to spend a week or two on the Island and then renting their properties the rest of the season. And let’s face it, people who rent for a week aren’t likely to adopt a new pet while they’re down here.

On the other hand, some locals still swear by the legend, declaring that each autumn leads to hordes of strays, especially cats, roaming the area, the feline equivalent to MS-13, devouring songbirds and plundering garbage cans.

Folks, the argument is moot. The solid fact is this: The Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter, like so many shelters across the country, always has plenty of dogs and cats up for adoption. To paraphrase Carole King, “Winter, spring, summer or fall, all you have to do is call” the facility, located at 360 Haywood Rd. in Manahawkin, at 609-978-0127 to find a friend, one that if “You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am, I’ll come running, running, yeah, yeah, to see you again.”

A group of earnest volunteers, the Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter, is an integral part of the shelter, providing such services as dog walking and feline fostering as well as supporting the shelter with gifts of money, pet food and supplies and publicizing the availability of adoptable animals. It also mans the cat adoption area at the Manahawkin PetSmart and provides a trap-neuter-return service for feral cats. The Friends will benefit from two upcoming fundraisers.

The first, a “Puttin’ on the Dog Fashion Show and Tea,” will be held this Sunday, Sept. 30, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Bay Avenue Community Center at 775 East Bay Ave. in Manahawkin. Tickets for the event, sponsored by the Barnegat Light business Wildflowers by the Lighthouse, are $35 and may be purchased at Scissor Sisters, located at 283 East Bay Ave. in Stafford Township, or How you Brewin?, located at 8 North Long Beach Blvd. in Surf City. They may also be purchased online at the Friends’ website,, or by calling 609-361-8191.

The second, set for Tuesday, Oct. 16, beginning at 5 p.m., will be a murder mystery dinner theater show by the Riddlesbrood Touring Theater Co. at the Octopus’s Garden restaurant, located at 771 South Main St. in the Mayetta neighborhood of Stafford Township. Tickets are $65 for the show and a dinner that includes soup, salad, entrée and dessert. It is a BYOB affair, although bottles of wine from Sharrott Winery will be available for purchase. Tickets may be purchased online at while a limited number of tickets will also be available at Octopus’s Garden and Between the Sheets, located at 1012 Central Ave. in Ship Bottom.

Who knows, maybe you’ll be motivated to adopt a pet, which would work out just fine for both you and a lonely critter. To quote Carole King once again as winter approaches – “If the sky above you grows dark and full of clouds and that old north wind begins to blow, keep your head together and call my name out loud, soon you’ll hear me knocking (OK, scratching) at your door.”

— Rick Mellerup

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