“Shelter Tails” is a television program hosted by Connie Galli that focuses on animal-related topics. Initially established to raise awareness about the plight of shelter animals, the show has since expanded from focusing to dogs and cats to including segments on rabbits, reptiles, birds, bats, and even porcupines!
“Shelter Tails” also includes helpful hints for pet owners, such as when they invited a vet guest to explain the warning signs of obesity in cats. Rescue organizations that help pit bulls used as bait animals in dog fighting rings find loving homes. In October of 2019, most of the programming will be focused on Yappy Dogs, a rescue that is dedicated to running animals from the south, overloaded shelters, and/or during hurricanes, to the north. In the five years since the show has been on air, there have been few repeats in theme due to the vast number of unfortunate circumstances that plague so many abandoned animals who need help.
Connie recently discussed her experiences with the show and her hopes for its future via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get into television and what prompted you to establish “Shelter Tails”?
Connie Galli (CG): Five years ago, while volunteering at an animal shelter in Windsor, I started getting free ads from a local publication to highlight our adoptables. It worked. So, then I thought… hmm TV even broader range. I called a local community tv station and they agreed. We tape once a month and run the airing several times on WIN TV in the following month. It also goes on YouTube and on the TV station’s own website.
MM: What sorts of topics do you cover on your show and which fields have your guests worked in?
CG: The guests work in any field; most are volunteers and have a full-time day job. We also have had rehab people on the show who do it full time and also veterinarians speaking about animal health related topics. I’ve also had a dog trainer on.
MM: You started out focusing on shelter issues and dogs and cats. How has the show evolved since then?
CG: Even though there is a need for so many shelters for cats and dogs, I decided once I’d done almost a year on these pets that there was a lot more to be said about all animal welfare. For instance, I had a reptile rehabber come on. He talked about it being hard to place reptiles and lots of people think it will be ‘fun’ to have a snake or iguana till they outgrow their surroundings. Then they dump them, such as leaving a boa-constrictors in the Everglades. He mentioned how the person had a large snake in a small cage and the heat lamps burnt the poor think which was mute in its suffering…That hurt my heart. So, I started including other animals that surely needed help but were not cute and cuddly, such as Priscilla the Porcupine who stabbed me with her little needles! Do you know when they get upset, their quills rattle together in warning? I do now!
MM: Of all the episodes you’ve ever filmed, do any stand out in particular? If so, which ones and why?
CG: Yes, the snake episode above due to the fact these creatures can’t complain. Then there was a rehabber who brought a redwing hawk who was injured. Had it in a cat crate. She told me to slowly pull the crate away from the back as she had her hands with mesh gloves on going into the front of the cage. He wasn’t cooperative and when he cleared the cage, the first thing he saw was my face leaning over and he flapped his wings, hit me in the head and I made a noise kind of reminiscent of the three Stooges…whoo whoo whoo. And they didn’t cut it from the film. Also, we had a baby pit-bull who came in and had been used as a bait dog. That was the first time I cried in the studio. I made the director take a photo of every tear, bite and injury as hard as it was to look at. This little guy bounded over to me and gave me kisses; he hadn’t given up on humans and the rescuer, who unbeknownst to him, lived two doors down from this dog fighting ring and wouldn’t give up on him. We thought his one leg was going to have to be amputated, but with time, great vet care and love, he made it.
MM: What can audiences expect from your show and when and where does it air?
CG: The audiences can expect education, humor, and seeing the cutest (and most ugly) little beings on the planet. The show airs on WINTV in Windsor, CT., but surrounding towns also have access to it.
MM: What do you think the average person can do to help animals in need?
CG: Don’t shop, adopt! If you can’t adopt, bring food to a shelter, towels, blankets, toys. If you can spend some time, volunteer to greet people at the door, clean cages out, foster an animal until it can go to a permanent home, and socialize the cats and kittens.
MM: How do you hope your show continues to evolve over the next five years?
CG: I’m hoping I can put myself out of business but with the news of horrible people dumping animals, torturing animals, I think this won’t be possible. I post a wall of shame on my personal Facebook page for these non-human’s names and also, I am proud to say, Connecticut passed Desmond’s Law after the horrible torture beating lead to the death of a dog. We are going after these people and putting them in jail. And if someone out there SEES a dump being done or something else untoward, like a dog chained in the heat…CALL your animal control officer! End the misery!
MM: How do you select your guests and can people reach out to you directly with inquiries and/or possible subjects to feature?
CG: I go to all the people at local shelters and vets and traveling groomers, etc. and ask if they would like to be part of the show. I schedule them in rotation so we don’t get too many cats/dogs in a string. I intersperse other animal topics. I also ask if these shelters have upcoming fundraisers and try to keep that in mind when scheduling so they can talk about the fundraiser and the program runs in the month before the function. I am always open to suggestions, always. People can contact me via [email protected] or 860 930 5618 to discuss.
MM: Do you have any episodes or projects coming up that you would like to discuss?
CG: In September, I have a trap/neuter/release program coming up which helps keep the feral population down. These people have done marvels in three years. They now offer to take the kittens of mothers who have not been spayed if the owner will also let them spay momma. They also offer a scholarship to upcoming vet tech students. They are amazing! October is Yappy Tails and November will be an organization that brings up animals from the south and disaster impacted areas. They clear the shelters in home states for the animals that can be boarded there until the owners get them back and bring the adoptables up North where we have a much better track record. This transport happens about once a month.