Tom Ayres, President and CEO of the Humane Society of Chittenden County, is planning a program around animal care and protection. We'll also hear from Amy Wright of Cathedral Square about health benefits of human/animal companionship and pet friendly senior housing at Thayer Commons.

Cari Papp will be telling us how she and Gary Rogers worked to bring infant play groups to the Miller Center. Word has spread quickly. There were 15 families participating in play group today!

Animal lovers in Burlington, please participate in this community discussion with Humane Society President. We will look at state and city animal cruelty laws, lines of enforcement responsibility, and animal companion's quality of life challenges in the city.

Many housing options are pet friendly today (Thayer Commons, for example), leading to an increase in animal-human companionship opportunities for renters and seniors. We'll be looking at whether there has been any progress on animal companion quality of life issues previously identified by Livable City for Dogs -- safe off-leash dog play areas in every ward, reinstatement of animal safety officer position in BPD, enforcement of leash and licensing laws, and revision of city ordinances to coordinate with state laws and residents' high regard for our animal family members.

Timely reminder that animals suffer in the cold, and must not be caged or chained outside without adequate housing protection.

Update, more details:

For the main body of the program, Tom Ayres, President and CEO of Humane Society of Chittenden County, will moderate a panel discussion and public forum focused on animal control and welfare issues. Panel participants will include:

Tom Ayres, Moderator
Dan Cahill, Burlington Parks and Rec Department & Off-Leash Dog Steering Committee Liaison
Lynne Lieb, Off-Leash Dog Steering Committee Member & Starr Farm Dog Park Volunteer Coordinator
Joanne Nichols, Humane Investigator/Educator, Humane Society of Chittenden County
Burlington Police Dept representative (Awaiting word form Deputy Chief Higbee)
Residents -- we've asked Sue Prim to join the panel. She is a well-known and very knowledgeable animal advocate.

Many, many residents of Wards 4 & 7 are cat or dog owners and many others have concerns related to companion animals in our neighborhoods, including free-roaming cats, animals struck and injured by motor vehicles, allegations of animal abuse and/or neglect, and allegedly vicious, aggressive dogs.  Our neighborhood is also the home of the Starr Farm Dog Park, which is widely used by people and their dogs from throughout the Burlington area. There will be plenty of topics to discuss during this one-hour program on the NPA agenda Wednesday night.  Also on the agenda: regular NPA business and a discussion with our elected officials. Waterfront development, Urban Reserve preservation, and Redistricting (Restructuring the wards and City Council) top the list of hot topics.