Hope Yarnell of Deshler, Ohio, visits with Baby at the Henry County Humane Society facilities in Napoleon. Baby is one of the last dogs that the group could accept; it now will take in only cats.
NAPOLEON — Dog owners in Henry County who want to surrender their dogs may have to drive out of the county to find a shelter that will take them.
Thursday marked the beginning of the Henry County Humane Society’s policy change to only accepting cats.
“We simply had to make a tough decision based on our financial situation,” Robin Weirauch, Henry County Humane Society board member, said.
The humane society receives about 160 owner-surrendered dogs and puppies per year, while the dog warden takes in about 180 strays, she said.
County dog wardens are required by Ohio law to take in all strays, but whether they accept owner-surrendered dogs is up to them. The Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office took in 682 owned dogs and puppies in 2012.
But Henry County Dog Warden Beth Spurgeon said her office has no plans to begin allowing owners to drop off dogs and puppies unless the dog is being surrendered because of a bite incident, in which case it will be euthanized.
“I have talked with my commissioners and we are open to changing our policy if the need arises, but for now we are going to keep the policies as stated,” she said.
“We do work with the public if they have a dog that is their own and are unable to care or no longer want it. The public can post their dogs on the Henry County Dog Shelter Facebook page.”
Dog owners can post a picture and information about dogs for which they would like to find a new home — without surrendering them.
“If the county resident does not want to post their personal information on our page, then they can email me and I will post it for them,” Ms. Spurgeon said.
“The dog shelter becomes the ‘go-between’ to get their pet a new home. We also post all missing and found dogs on our page and the public can also do the same. We try to help the public with any assistance we can pertaining to all dogs.”
Ms. Weirauch said the humane society also will try to provide dog owners with assistance.
“We are prepared to provide people with some guidance as to what alternatives they might pursue to rehome their dog and give them information about the [dog warden’s office] and other area shelters or rescues,” she said.
The humane society was taking in about three dogs per week. It took 85 during the first six months of 2013.
The shelter has 10 dogs that came in before the policy change. The Humane Society is still trying to find homes for them, she added.
Contact Tanya Irwin at: email@example.com, 419-724-6066, or on Twitter @TanyaIrwin.