Animal control & rescue

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

MANSFIELD, Ohio––A recent
survey of Ohio county animal control depart-
ments done by neutering advocate Diana
Nolen found that 64% consider their shelters
to be overcrowded, 58% see parvovirus as
their greatest health problem (a disease associ-
ated with overcrowding), and only 27%
expect to be able to expand or improve their
facilities soon. Two-thirds of the departments
depend wholly upon dog licensing, fines, and
redemption fees for their income.
Nolen’s survey forms were returned
by the animal control departments in 33 of the
88 Ohio counties, containing 47% of the
human population. The findings indicate that
Ohio animal control agencies took in about
197,000 dogs and cats in 1993; euthanized
135,000, or 69%; adopted out 37,000 (19%);
and returned 25,000 (13%) to their owners.
Thirty percent reported declining intake and
euthanasia figures, 42% reported no change,
and 24% reported increases.

The lack of progress in two-thirds of
the counties may be in part because only half
of the animal control departments do any
adoption screening, just 21% do any follow-
up, 70% have no neutering requirement, 46%
have no low-cost neutering program in their
county, and 78% have no differential licens-
ing requirement. Two-thirds of the shelters
had on staff someone trained in dog behavior,
but only one third had someone trained in
either adoption counseling or veterinary work.
Nolen believes the results reflect the
status of dog wardens in Ohio, who work for
police departments and belong to a police
union. “They don’t think of themselves as
animal people,” she said. “They think of
themselves as peace officers, whose jobs
begin and end with law violations. If the law
doesn’t say something has to be done,” Nolen
said, “a lot of them just won’t do it.”
Meanwhile, even stiff laws aren’t
preventing a resurgence of dogfighting in
Ohio, Lucas County dog warden Tom
Skeldon warned recently. Since 1987, Ohio
has required pit bull terrier owners to carry
$50,000 in dog attack liability insurance and
to keep the dogs confined. The law was
backed by a 1989 Toledo ordinance against
having more than one vicious dog in a house-
hold. Skeldon, whose beat includes Toledo,
seized only 49 pit bulls last year––but this
year he seized 17 before March 10. Five of
them were found in a house containing dog-
fighting paraphernalia.
Terri Ward, animal control officer
for Story County, Iowa, has reported receiv-
ing the highest ratio of purebed dogs to mon-
grels of any animal shelter whose statistics are
on file with ANIMAL PEOPLE: 69 of 139
during the last six months of 1993. Ward said
she had taken in dogs of at least 27 different
recognized breeds.
Feminists for Animal Rights is
attempting to set up fostering programs t o
aid the pets of families who seek refuge in shel-
ters for battered women and children, which
often don’t admit animals. In some instances,
battering victims are reluctant to go to a shelter,
from fear of what might happen to a pet left
behind. Get details from POB 16425, Chapel
Hill, NC 27516.
Thirty volunteers recruited by
Spay-Lee Inc., of Lee County, Florida,
joined a March 19 work bee on behalf of the
Animal Rescue shelter in LaBelle, begun by
Diane Shepherd in a former greyhound kennel.
The crew painted, cleaned, repaired, vacci-
nated and wormed 80 dogs and 20 cats, and
bathed 40 dogs, planning to do the rest at a
follow-up bee in mid-April. A third bee is
slated for July 23. Eleven local businesses
donated materials, including a washing
machine and dryer delivered and installed by
Lloyd Jones of Moonlight Refrigeration and
Appliance Repair––who is legally blind.
San Quentin Prison in California
has ceased sending about 200 cats per year
for euthanasia, due to the success of a
neuter/release program organized by nurse
Brandi Smythe and gun rail guard Megan
McGee, who estimate they have spent
$44,000 on veterinary bills. About 300 cats
have been adopted out, while 80 remain at the
prison––17 of them under the care of inmate
Erick Thrasher, who recalls that his father
forced him to shoot any cat who approached
the family home. Thrasher, now known for
his gentle cat handling, is serving a life sen-
tence for kidnapping and murder. The San
Quentin program is tentatively to be taken over
soon by the Marin County Humane Society.
The Prevent a Litter Coalition and
Earl Strimple, DVM, are carrying out a
neuter/release project at Lorton Prison, in
Manassas, Virginia. At deadline they’d fixed
20 cats belonging to inmates and adopted out
55 cats and kittens.
Pennsylvania humane officers
turned out in force April 15 for hearings on
proposed amendments to the state animal pro-
tection law (see cover, March issue) which
would regulate and limit their authority.
Accepting the advice of the state
Fish and Game and Health departments,
the California state assembly on March 24
rejected a bill to lift the state’s 60-year-old ban
on ferret ownership. The bill was backed by
the California Veterinary Medical Association.
The Louisiana SPCA, of New
Orleans, in mid-March completed expansion
of its in-house veterinary clinic. The job was
aided by a grant of $50,000 from the Joe W.
and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation.
You read all about Lynda Foro’s
1994 No-Kill Directory in the April issue of
ANIMAL PEOPLE––but it won’t be men-
tioned in Shelter Sense, published by the
Humane Society of the U.S., says Ken White,
vice president for companion animals and field
services, who calls no-kill shelters “turn
aways” because he claims they don’t accept
problematic animals and contribute to a bad
public image of conventional shelters. White,
formerly animal control director for the City of
San Francisco, openly resented the accolades
given to San Francisco SPCA director Richard
Avanzino over the past decade, after Avanzino
relinquished the San Francisco animal control
contract, quit euthanizing healthy animals, and
reoriented the SFSPCA to focus upon arrang-
ing adoptions. Those actions created White’s
former job.
At deadline both houses of the
Michigan legislature had approved extend-
ing the state felony cruelty statute to cover
animals owned by the offender; it awaited
only the governor’s signature to become law.
The Michigan felony cruelty statute, passed in
1931, formerly covered only animals owned
by a second party.
The Associated Humane Societies
“are writing a book to cover all phases of ani-
mal control, including capture, housing, med-
ical attention, tranquilization, cruelty statutes,
equipment, etc.,” says executive director Lee
Bernstein. “We will try to cover any conceiv-
able situation that an animal control officer or
police officer may encounter.” Send ideas,
photos, and article submissions, c/o Humane
Way, Box 43, Forked Way, NJ 08731.
Chicago alderman Ginger Rugai
has proposed an ordinance that would require
the owners of dogs who bark for more than
five consecutive minutes to take the animals to
the city shelter for an examination to detect
possible abuse, and would then fine the own-
ers $100 per day for further nuisance barking.
Animal control director Peter Poholik said his
much trimmed department lacks the staff to
enforce the bill.
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