Several factors influence why an owner might need to return a dog. Health, job change or moving, especially to apartments or neighborhoods that restrict pets or certain breeds, are typical reasons, Mitchell said. Greene County also has a large military population, and sometimes those going overseas or doing military service can’t keep their pets.
The shelter likely also hasn’t seen the last of the so-called “pandemic puppy boom,” which has seen people across the country buying or adopting pets in large numbers during the COVID pandemic.
“COVID played a big part in that, where a lot of people were adopting animals because they expected to be home for a while and then they go back to work and don’t feel like they can anymore. do it,” Mitchell said. .
Greene County has seen an increase in pet dumping in the spring, with dogs and cats being increasingly abandoned by their owners. Many of those dogs have now been adopted, Mitchell said.
“Unfortunately, at the end of the day, people go through tough times. They don’t know what to do,” Mitchell said. “They find themselves in a position where they feel trapped in their decision and sometimes people just make a split decision to get rid of now without resorting to the proper resources.”
Animal Control provides resources for owners who would rather keep their pets or “rehome” them than abandon them completely. This includes a pet pantry at their county office, where people can get pet food and supplies and connect to local shelters and other services.
By law, stray animals are detained for three days if they don’t have a tag, or 14 days if they do, before the dog or cat becomes theirs. At this point, the animal will undergo a medical evaluation and, if adoptable, will be cleaned and put up for adoption. If the animal, for whatever reason, cannot be adopted, the department will seek placement with a shelter.
“Look outside the shelter,” Mitchell said. “Rescues, different areas, different routines. How can we help you to keep the animal at home? »
Dropping off dogs is illegal in Ohio, and Greene County prosecutes those who dump their animals.
“It’s not an animal problem. It’s a people problem. And that’s what we have to sort out first,” he said.
Mitchell said the best way to be a responsible pet owner is to be proactive.
“Register your pet, microchip your pet, be sure to track all your IDs, check your fences and gates, and always watch your pet. If they go missing, check with your county shelter first, then use these resources from there.
The cost of caring for an animal at Greene County Animal Control is about $10 a day and between $50 and $75 for surgery. The department’s income comes mainly from license fees.
In April, Greene County commissioners awarded Animal Control $250,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding for an additional shelter wing to better separate stray, adoptable and quarantined animals. Plans for the addition have not yet been finalized.