Courtemanche nominated for Shelter Worker of the Year award

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BURRILLVILLE – Deputy Animal Control Officer Kerry Courtemanche has been nominated for Handsome Dan’s Rescue Shelter Worker of the Year Award for 2018 in recognition of her nearly 15 years of service to the town and the care of its animals.

Courtemanche is currently one of two shelter workers in the running for the award, which honors those across the state who go “above and beyond,” in caring for homeless animals. She was nominated anonymously by a former colleague.

“Kerry has always been very dedicated to her profession,” the nomination form stated. “I can see that she strives to provide the best she can for the animals in her care and her community.”

Courtemanche has worked at the Clear River Drive shelter, which operates as a division of the Burrillville Police Department, since 2004. She is one of only two full-time employees at the facility, which is currently under renovation.

“We’re very proud of her and the great work that she and (Animal Control Officer) Ron Woods do,” said BPD Major Dennis Leahey. “She has been instrumental in helping secure grants that have paid for supplies and equipment that we may not have otherwise been able to afford.”

Leahey pointed to a grant Courtemanche pursued for the purchase of new cat cages.

“She also is a huge reason why the shelter was named Best of RI (Northern) four years in a row,” Leahey said. “Kerry is extremely dedicated to her work and we are very lucky to have her.”

Courtemanche is certified by the American Animal Cruelty Investigations School in canine and feline CPR and investigative body condition scoring. She received a commendation for her work from the town in 2008.

The winner and runner up of the Handsome Dan’s award will receive a gift basket full of gift cards and a plaque to hang in their shelter. Nominations will be accepted through the end of today, Tuesday, July 31.

“Day in and day out, these folks take care of our state’s homeless animals and are often under-paid and under-appreciated,” noted the nomination announcement. “This type of thankless work requires a great deal of dedication, empathy and compassion.”

“I was a former colleague of Kerry’s, and I could always count on her for advice in a difficult situation,” noted the nomination. “Kerry truly does amazing work for her town.”

Cranston Animal Control Officer Nicole Ferrari was also nominated for the honor.

Handsome Dan’s is a nonprofit that focuses on the rescue of pit bull-type dogs who are unlikely candidates for adoption due to medical and/or behavioral reasons, or victims of dogfighting. The group named themselves after one of the 22 canine survivors of Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation that were rescued in 2008. The dog, who was described as “sweet and shy,” was adopted, and his story detailed in the award-winning documentary The Champions. The canine died earlier this month.

Handsome Dan

The organization is looking for help in filling baskets for the 2018 award winners. To pitch in, purchase a gift card from their Amazon Wish List.