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Published: Wednesday, 5/1/2013

Lucas Co. dog warden says adoptions on upward path

711 found new homes in 2012; up from 597 in 2011

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
County Administrator Laura Lloyd-Jenkins, left, speaks with Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle. Ms. Lyle says she continues to learn how to increase the number of dogs that find homes. County Administrator Laura Lloyd-Jenkins, left, speaks with Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle. Ms. Lyle says she continues to learn how to increase the number of dogs that find homes.
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More dogs are making it out of the Lucas County dog pound alive, according to Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle.

Adoptions continue to increase: 711 dogs were adopted in 2012, compared with 597 in 2011 and 244 in 2007. In 2012, 136 dogs were transferred to rescue groups, and 534 dogs were transferred to the Toledo Area Humane Society.

Also on the rise is the department’s live release rate, which is the percent of all animals that come in and then leave the pound alive through adoption, return-to-owner, or transfer to another non-profit agency. The rate was 61.29 percent in 2012, compared with 52.06 percent in 2011 and 28.03 percent in 2007.

RELATED: View Lyle's presentation to the commissioners

Ms. Lyle, who has been warden for three years, presented her annual progress report to the Lucas County commissioners Tuesday. She detailed improvements made at the pound in the last year and talked of future plans.

She will attend a “no-kill” conference in Washington later this year and has gone to several conferences about increasing adoptions, which she says help give her ideas for the pound.

“There are always examples of amazing things happening at other groups,” she said. “Every time we can bring back a piece of that and implement it here helps more dogs find homes.”

Two of the vans for deputy dog wardens are being replaced because of age. They will be retrofitted to use the cages that were in the old vans. Soon, all deputies will have laptop computers in the vans, which will enable them to research past histories on locations they are making calls to and to input their reports while they are fresh in their minds, Ms. Lyle said. The first new van has been ordered at a cost of about $21,000.

The dog warden is working with the Toledo Police Department to develop a plan for “targeted enforcement” during the summer months on some evenings and weekends.

“We can catch some folks at home who we have not been able to reach and also patrol parks,” she said. Staffing for the project will be paid out of the dog warden’s overtime budget.

In the audience at the commission meeting were several members of the Lucas County Dog Warden Advisory Committee, which two years ago developed policy recommendations and future benchmarks.

Committee member Jean Keating said the group will meet in the next several weeks and put together a written response to Ms. Lyle's presentation and their own assessment of what else needs to change at the pound, which will be sent to the dog warden and county commissioners.

She said she was “delighted” to see the progress made by the dog warden over the last year.

“Under Julie’s outstanding leadership, the staff have made a significant difference in our community and should be very proud of their accomplishments,” said Ms. Keating, executive director of the nonprofit Lucas County Pit Crew and founder of the Ohio Coalition of Dog Advocates.

Ms. Lyle was applauded by all three commissioners for the work she has done.

Carol Contrada, president of the board of commissioners, called the increase in adoptions “incredible” and said she continues to be impressed by Ms. Lyle’s energy.

Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak called Ms Lyle a “visionary who is also very practical.”

Commissioner Pete Gerken complimented Ms. Lyle on how engaged she is with her staff, the volunteers, and the public.

“She continues to improve and and has not rested on her laurels,” Mr. Gerken said.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.


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