For the second time this summer, the dog pound is at capacity and the dog warden is pleading for adoptions before euthanasia becomes necessary.
CANTON Lake Township residents Bob and Cathi Moffat waited patiently in the Stark County Dog Warden's Office lobby Wednesday morning as the newest arrival to their home got a microchip and rabies vaccination.
The couple named their Shetland sheepdog Daisy. She seems to respond to the name rather well, said Cathi Moffat said as her husband noted that the couple was partial to the breed. Their sheltie named Dillon died May 17, and they owned another one before that.
Outside the glass windows the small brick building at 1801 Mahoning Road NE, Tuscarawas County Humane Society shelter director Haley Predragovich and vice president Kelly Schoelles arrived, leashes in hand to see the dogs in the cages lining the walls inside.
For the second time this summer, Stark County Dog Warden Jon Barber said pound overcrowding means tough decisions must be made. Typically, that could mean euthanasia.
By Wednesday morning, there were 33 dogs, only three of which were small dogs. The center only has 29 large cages.
"This summer, we've just been full constantly," he said. "Part of the issue is we're keeping dogs longer than they are adoptable. We're not setting a time limit. We're not saying, 'Look, if this dog doesn't find a home in X-number of days, we're putting it down.'"
Instead, he and his employees are networking, trying to find homes via pet rescues and humane societies in surrounding counties.
"The problem is everybody's full," Barber said.
When dogs are brought into the shelter -- typically because they're strays or someone can no longer care for them -- they must be held for 72 hours before they can be adopted.
"We've always had a cage or two open every night," Barber said. "It just seems like this whole summer has been steady population-wise."
And it's getting busier.
"Since the (Sept.) 14th, we've had 17 dogs come in," Barber said. "They've all come in at one time."
Decisions that involve where to relocate a pet, if it's even possible, tend to happen for dogs that are not adopted.
"Who's here the longest? Chino. He's a great dog, but he's been here coming up on 60 days," Barber said, talking about the mixed breed.
The dog has been "completed vetted and neutered," and he has a heartworm issue. But, Barber said, the nonprofit Friends of the Pound nonprofit will write a $500 check to the vet chosen by whoever adopts Chino to handle heartworm treatment.
"He's a great dog. He's friendly. You start to wonder, what's going on with the owners," Barber said. "And again, why has Chino been here for more than 30 days? Is there not a home for him?"
Barber said he recently has had to put down a few dogs that were deemed aggressive or vicious.
"I haven't had to put down any today or yesterday," he said Wednesday morning. "But that doesn't mean we won't have to tomorrow. As soon as we fill up and we have dogs coming in the back door and have nowhere to put them, we have to make a decision."
Reach Lori at 330-580-8309 or email@example.com.
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