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Friends of Animals needs support from community

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By The Staff

A guest editorial about the Owen County dog shelter ran in last week’s paper. Due to space constraints some information was omitted. The following is the information that was not included. OCFA would like to express our gratitude to Editor John Whitlock and The News Herald for running the weekly ad and periodically updating the community on the shelter’s progress.

The following statistics illustrate the decrease in the number of euthanized dogs in Owen County since OCFA’s inception. Before 2006 all dogs taken in by the county that were not reclaimed by owners within five days were put down.

2006-257 placed = 86 percent placed

2007-292 placed = 96 percent  placed

2008-296 placed = 99 percent placed

2009-292 placed = 99.9 percent placed (1 dog was destroyed due to a court order)

Along with a lack of funding, OCFA must overcome a lack of volunteers and lack of owner responsibility in order to achieve their goal of eliminating the euthanization of dogs in Owen County.

As with any nonprofit group that operates solely with volunteers, membership has fluctuated throughout the years. Many people mean well and express an interest in helping but very few make an actual commitment and stick to it for very long.  Volunteering at a shelter is not glamorous work, not many people are willing to clean and sanitize kennels on a regular basis. There is a lot of hard work involved and seeing the dogs in that environment can be emotionally taxing as well. Many dogs whine when you have to leave them sitting in a small, concrete cell. Canines are social by nature and want nothing more than to be a part of the family; they can become very depressed in the shelter with such limited human contact. Volunteers are needed to clean the shelter and attend to the needs of the dogs on a rotating schedule every evening. It takes about two hours to thoroughly clean and sanitize; sometimes more, sometimes less depending on how many dogs are being housed. It is important that volunteers make every effort to follow through with their commitment and show up on their scheduled evening.  If a volunteer can’t make it someone else has to fill in for them; it’s not like we can just skip it – the dogs have to be attended to.

In years past (when all dogs were put down) the county would take in owner surrendered dogs. This practice has changed and OCFA does not accept owner surrendered dogs except in extreme cases such as if the owner dies and no family is able to help. Several people call and want us to take their dog or a litter of pups just because they don’t want their dog anymore or they neglected to get their pet spayed and now have a litter of pups. When they are asked if they have tried to re-home their pet by placing an ad in the paper, putting up signs or any other means, the usual answer is no. People get angry when you tell them it is their responsibility to find their dog a home not the county’s or OCFA’s. I have been cussed on more than one occasion for not allowing someone to just bring their pet to the shelter to be rid of it. It amazes me that people expect others to take on their burdens and take care of their responsibilities. It is pretty simple: If you are not going to commit to an animal for life, don’t get one. If you do get a pet it is your responsibility to care for it or find it a good home if you can’t care for it anymore. It is also your responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies or find homes for the pups if you don’t.

If you would like to donate or volunteer call (502) 514-1539.

Hilari Gentry

Owen County Friends of Animals