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Animal control officer being honored March 31.

Byline: William Janson

SHREWSBURY - On March 31, the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association will host a gala event to celebrate its 2011 awards recipients, including Shrewsbury animal control officer and merit award winner Leona Pease.

"I was very excited," said Ms. Pease, who said she learned of the award in February. "I started to cry I was so shocked."

According to the MVMA website, the organization has given merit awards since 1996 to "recognize outstanding contributions by individuals to their family, community, or profession in the areas of: human-animal companion bond, public relations, colleagues, humane endeavors or animal welfare."

"She's a tremendously dedicated individual," said Shrewsbury Town Manager Daniel Morgado of Ms. Pease. "She is one of those people that you come across - generally wonderful people - who care about animals tremendously. She's extremely knowledgeable and she's someone that people look toward on the issue of animal control and animal care."

Ms. Pease does a lot of volunteer work at animal clinics and animal welfare events such as Worcester's Pet Rock Festival or Lancaster's Whisker Walk.

"They are festivals that are put on that support the rescue community," said Ms. Pease of the Pet Rock and Whisker Walk events. "I bring the van and I educate about animal control and animal care. And I let the kids play with the equipment and be a real animal control officer with my stuffed toys."

Her volunteer-work serves as a complement to her role as animal control officer in Shrewsbury.

"My passion has become the feral cats, and the trap-neuter-return of the feral cats," said Ms. Pease, referring to the "no-kill" method of controlling wild cat populations. "Over last eight years, I've done well over a thousand cats."

Ms. Pease has been deployed by the state's Animal Response Team and the Franklin County Animal Response team to assist in animal rescue efforts during natural disasters such as tornados, hurricanes and last October's snow storm.

Also being honored are Dr. David J. Schwarz, who will receive the Distinguished Service Award for his work as owner of the Ashland Animal Hospital and for his contributions to various veterinary associations in Massachusetts. In addition to Ms. Pease, the two other merit award recipients are Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick J. Fraser, and Kelly M. Kemp, an assistant district attorney in Berkshire County.

The dinner will also serve as a fundraiser for MVMA Charities Inc., the MVMA's charitable arm that raises money for programs affecting stray animals in Massachusetts among other causes.

The event will take place from 6 to 11 p.m. March 31 at the Newton Marriott Hotel located at 2345 Commonwealth Ave. in Newton.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the MVMA office at (508) 460-9333 or visit Donations may be directed to the MVMA Charities Inc., 163 Lakeside Ave., Marlboro, MA 01752.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Mar 30, 2012
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