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Published: Saturday, 4/30/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

Humane Society pact with pound debated

County says too many dogs turned down

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle and Humane Society Executive Director John Dinon have a transfer agreement for adoptable dogs. Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle and Humane Society Executive Director John Dinon have a transfer agreement for adoptable dogs.
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Eighteen months ago, Lucas County inked a deal for the Toledo Area Humane Society to take adoptable dogs offered by the county pound.

But last year, the humane society passed 74 times when the pound tried to transfer a dog and so far this year, it’s already happened 62 times, County Administrator Peter Ujvagi said.

“The contract says they are supposed to take every dog,” Mr. Ujvagi said.

The number of dogs taken by the humane society decreased from 151 during last year’s first quarter to 123 during the first quarter this year — meaning the pound was getting less support from the nonprofit shelter.

John Dinon, executive director of the humane society, last week told The Blade that the number of dogs going to his organization dropped because fewer are being offered.

“We are taking less dogs because they are adopting out more,” he said last week. “We continue to take all the adoptable dogs they offer us. They are adopting more themselves and we continue to take every dog they offer us.”

County Commissioner Pete Gerken, called foul after reading Mr. Dinon’s remarks in The Blade.

Mr. Dinon early this week clarified that the humane society can turn down a dog if it does not have enough room.

“We are taking all the adoptable dogs they offer us, just not the first time they offer it to us,” Mr. Dinon said. “If they offer us 12 dogs and we only have room for six, we will take the six that have been on the list the longest.”

He said the pound can call for emergency pickups as well.

“The understanding is that if they have a dog they feel there is some ­urgent need to move, they can always call,” Mr. Dinon said. “Generally, what happens the next week [after a dog is rejected], the ones we didn’t take, are on the list the next week.

“There are a small handful of dogs that weren’t on the next week to come, and my assumption is those dogs were adopted,” he said.

Pound workers were reviewing records to determine if the same dogs were offered more than once to the humane society or if any of the dogs offered but not taken were later killed for lack of space at the pound or other reasons.

Mr. Gerken said he would review the contract with the humane society.

“I think he is mincing words,” Mr. Gerken said of Mr. Dinon’s statements. “He has never cited back to the commissioners that there is an overflow problem at the humane society. … For him to say, ‘We pick up every dog’ and then say he only takes the dogs he has room for is not right.”

The number of dogs going into the pound, being adopted, and being euthanized were all up during the first three months of 2011 versus the same time last year.

There was a 30 percent increase in the kill rate at the pound during the first three months of 2011 versus the same period last year.

Part of the reason kills increased probably was a 25.6 percent surge in the number of dogs seized or surrendered. Adoptions increased 40 percent in the time period.

Dog Warden Julie Lyle said so far this year, the pound has offered 176 dogs to the humane society a total of 223 times. There were 117 dogs accepted the first time; 21 the second time; three the third time, and four the fourth time.

That means 31 were not accepted, and of those, 12 were later adopted out of the pound, three were transferred to another agency or group, one was claimed by its owner, and six were killed. Six of the declined dogs were “pit bulls.”

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.



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