The problem many pounds have is that there’s not enough room for all the animals.
By MAYSOON ABDELRASUL
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HOWLAND — Dog lovers are speaking up about conditions at the Trumbull County Dog Pound, saying animals are not being treated properly and the euthanasia rate is higher than is should be.
Friends of the Trumbull County Dog Pound is a new volunteer group whose mission is to save more lives at the pound. The organization has about 25 local people volunteering and about 75 out-of-town members.
Sandy Paris of North Benton is the volunteer group’s spokeswoman. She said she drives to Trumbull County three times a week to take pictures of the dogs to post online at www.1-800-save-apet.com/shelter73562-pets.
“Pets are not wild animals, they are like family,” she said. “They should have the same rights as humans.”
Most are euthanized
In 2006 at the Trumbull County pound, 86 percent of the dogs that came in were euthanized,according to records kept by the pound. That is almost double the state average, according to Dean Vickers, Ohio state director of the Humane Society of the United States located in Columbus.
The problem many dog pounds and animal shelters have is that there is not enough room for all the animals, he said.
At the Trumbull County pound located on Anderson Avenue in Howland, dog warden Bob Campana said he can house about 30 animals at a time.
Some of his dogs are sheltered outside but have a roof over them. He said his building is old and deteriorating and the county is looking into new options to help house more dogs and save more lives.
James Keating, the county’s human resource officer, said the 1,700-square-foot dog pound is too small to serve the entire county. He said the dog pound has about 24 cages and sometimes has to put two dogs in a cage.
“It forces us to euthanize dogs that we don’t want to,” he said.
Keating said the county is looking to add another 800-square-foot to the building to allow for more cages, and the building is getting maintenance work done due to the leaking roof and other problems.
Paris said Campana has not allowed the group to help as much as it would like.
For example, she explained, Petfinder.com is a Web site where many dog pounds and shelters post the adoptable animals. Paris said Campana has denied the group access to post animals on the Petfinder.com site — although Campana does post to the site. Last Thursday, for example, there were 12 dogs on Petfinder from the Trumbull pound and 18 from Mahoning.
Because Paris said Campana controls what animals go on Petfinder.com, her group has to post on the 1-800 site. “This (1-800) Web site doesn’t have the exposure like Petfinder does,” she said.
Campana, meanwhile, maintained that Paris is an animal transporter and she transfers dogs for money — and that is not a volunteer.
Paris said the group takes donations and all the money goes toward the animals. She said it costs money to spay and neuter the dogs.
“All rescue people are volunteers, and we never make money on dogs,” she said,
Within the next couple weeks, Keating said there will be policies put into place regarding volunteers and other dog pound issues regarding intake and care.
The Trumbull County dog pound charges $10 for a puppy under the age of three months and $20 for a dog over three months, plus a dog license fee of $7 ( required by the state law.)
The Mahoning County Dog Pound has individuals who voluntarily come in and take the dogs for walks or give them dog treats. Mahoning dog warden Michael Fox said he has about five volunteers he sees on a regular basis but has around 35 signed up.
Fox has a staff of seven including himself to take care of 60 dogs on average and the 7,600 square foot building. The Trumbull County Dog Pound has four employees: the warden, chief deputy, deputy and clerk.
The Mahoning County pound last year took in 2,060 dogs. That is double the Trumbull County pound’s volume because the facility is larger and can hold more dogs. The euthanasia rate is about 59 percent, according to the pound’s records. That is lower than Trumbull County, but higher than the state averageof 43 percent.
The total cost to adopt a dog in Mahoning County is $110, which includes a $50 fee for the license and the adoption and $60 fee for the veterinarian. The new owner picks up the dog at the veterinarian’s office after it has been checked.
Some dogs that come in are great dogs while others are sick or aggressive and have to be put down. “We have to put the dogs to sleep to make room for new dogs,” Foxsaid.
Many dog pounds and shelter officials agree that the reason euthanasia is high in some areas is because of irresponsible people.
Barbara Busko, president of the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County, said 25 percent of the public that owns animals shouldn’t have them. People do not properly take care of their animals and that is why animal shelters and dog pounds have to put down animals.
“People are not willing to help with the situation,” she said.
Fox agrees with Busko: He doesn’t understand why people would take an animal into their homes and then ignore it.
“There are far more dogs than there good homes,” he said.
Busko said she is not happy with the situation at the Trumbull County Dog Pound. She understands, however, that the dog pound has to take in every dog by law — and that there is not enough room to house the dogs, and not all dogs are adoptable.
The Animal Welfare League Shelter, located at 545 Brunstetter S.W. in Warren, can take animals in at will. The shelter is not required by law to take in every animal. “We bring animals in at will, so they will stay longer and get a good home,” she said.
The shelter can hold 105 animals but sometimes has to hold more due to litter season when cats and dogs give birth. The annual budget at the shelter is $300,000, supported mainly by donations.
There is an adoption fee of $65 for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens; for spayed and neutered animals, it is $95.
Both pounds and the shelter use the Petfinder.com site and post the adoptable animals there. The dog wardens and leaders at the shelter decide what dogs to put on the site.
Adoptable dogs include those that are healthy, not too old, and friendly. The animals that are not on the site include those that are sick, injured, aggressive and unmanageable.