Just as sure as melting snow and budding crocuses, the animal shelter sees an upswing in the number of dogs and cats surrendered every spring.
The animals already have started coming this year, Animal Control Officer Sanne Pollak said. The shelter is running out of room, with 13 cats and 14 dogs in its custody. The shelter is not a no-kill facility, so when numbers get too high and animals remain unadopted for too long, the shelter is forced to euthanize them.
Each spring as people leave town, dogs are handed over to the animal shelter, and others simply are left unattended. This year, the number of animals coming into the shelter is particularly high.
"I have never seen it this full," Animal Control Officer Heather Sharp said.
A major help during the busy season is to have people surrendering dogs fill out the paperwork needed by the shelter, Pollack said. It makes the adoption process harder when the dogs are left tied in front of the shelter or found roaming around town. Last week, three hound dogs were abandoned, left tied in front of the animal shelter.
When people surrender dogs without leaving be--hind names, medical conditions and behavioral patterns, it creates more difficulty for the adopters, Sharp said.
The shelter also has a requirement to hold dogs that have not been officially surrendered for five days, in case the owner returns.
"Basically, it is really difficult to give dogs homes when you don't know anything," Sharp said.
It costs $15 to surrender a dog or cat at the shelter.
Pollak reminds people that the shelter is not a no-kill facility, meaning dogs and cats have 20 days before the shelter considers putting them down.
The officers also said the shelter should be a last option for people who no longer can take care of their pets. Pollak suggested that people first put ads in the paper or look for friends and family to adopt. It's much easier for animals to move from one home to another than to have the added stress of a stay at the shelter in between, she said.
Right now, the shelter has up for adoption a 4-year-old golden retriever, a 3-year-old Rottweiler, a 3-year-old border collie, a 2-year-old pit bull, a 10-year-old hound and a 9-month-old shepherd mix.
Pollak said people are needed to adopt dogs, or just take them for walks while they're in the shelter.
-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org