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Published: Wednesday, 8/7/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

Henry Co. Humane Society stops accepting canines

Shelter to continue taking in cats, kittens

BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Because of financial problems, the Henry County Humane Society will no longer accept dogs and puppies for surrender from the public starting Aug. 15.

Residents who show up with dogs or puppies at the shelter on Independence Drive in Napoleon will be referred to the Henry County Dog Warden. Currently, the dog warden handles stray dogs, while the humane society has focused on surrendered animals, said Henry County Humane Society board member Robin Weirauch.

The humane society receives about 160 owner-surrendered dogs and puppies each year, while the dog warden takes in about 180 strays, she said.

Dog warden services, including the provision of a dog shelter, are funded through the sale of dog licenses, fines, and reclaim fees. From 1984 to 2011, Henry County paid the humane society about $25,000 to house stray dogs. Part of the humane society’s financial strain is from the county opening its own dog shelter and ending its contract with the society, Ms. Weirauch said.

The dog warden and Henry County Commissioners received a letter from the county Humane Society regarding the change Tuesday. Henry County Dog Warden Beth Spurgeon could not be reached for comment.

The humane society will still accept cat and kitten surrenders, will place cats and kittens up for adoption, and will continue to investigate cruelty claims.

The group accepts 700 to 1,000 cats and kittens each year, Ms. Weirauch said. But to try to avoid becoming overcrowded, the humane society will ask people with unwanted felines to consider alternatives to surrender.

“We need people to play an active role in finding a reasonable alternative and a better outcome for these cats,” said Diana Riefers, the shelter’s operations manager.

Alternatives include keeping kittens at home with their mother until weaned, and then getting the mother cat fixed. The shelter also will ask owners to consider keeping cats they wish to surrender while the humane society tries to find homes for them online via its Web site and Petfinder.com.

The humane society plans to focus its limited resources where it will be the most effective, including an increased emphasis on reducing pet overpopulation through spay/‚Äčneuter programs that make pet sterilization more accessible to more pet owners.

“The goal is to prevent unwanted litters of puppies and kittens so that fewer animals will need to be surrendered,” Ms. Weirauch said. “We have to work more on solutions. What we’ve been doing is just a finger in the dike.”

The humane society aims to place 10 dogs in its care through reduced adoption fees, she said.

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



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