Staff and volunteers work to improve pound’s image, raise public awareness –
By Patricia Beech –
Deputy Dog Warden Donnie Swayne and the staff of the Adams County Dog Pound and Kennel on Saturday, Dec. 9 welcomed over 40 guests to their first holiday Open House and Pet Adoption Event.
“Our goal is to draw the community to the dog pound so that they can see first hand the positive changes that we’re making, and of course to adopt some of our dogs,” said pound volunteer Alyse Lovejoy-Pettit.
Pettit’s enthusiasm for remaking the pound’s image is shared by Deputy Swayne, who is eager to demonstrate that the organization no longer warrants a frightful reputation. He says the county pound and kennel take a humane approach to caring for animals who are abandoned and lost.
“In the past, adoptions through the pound were non-existent,” he says. “Today, almost all of the strays and lost dogs currently picked up by the dog warden are adopted out.”
The shift from unwarranted euthanization to nearly 100 percent adoption represents a basic change in philosophy that has resulted in homeless and lost dogs being treated with love and respect by their pound handlers.
“We want everyone to know that we’re here,” says Pettit. “We pick up the most distressed dogs in the community, dogs that have been abandoned and are homeless, we bring them in, we feed them, we provide them shelter, and we meet their basic needs while we work to find them good homes.”
It is a huge undertaking for a staff of two, and is far more difficult without the help of those who give their time freely.
“In a way, volunteer work here is a calling,” says Pettit. “Our dogs are like children, they’re our most vulnerable living creatures and they need us, they need human beings to help them interact in this world. We need people who are willing to give their time, even if it’s just 30 minutes to socialize with our animals and help them learn to love and trust and have a place in our community.”
Pettit says the pound’s Facebook page, “The Kennel Club” provides an opportunity to people who are concerned about the plight of animals, and want to help.
“Just reposting our posts about animals that are available for adoption is a great help for people who want to help, but don’t have time to come in,” she says. “It’s important to get the word out so people know what animals we have available here.”
Commissioner Ty Pell was among the Open House visitors. He praised the staff’s efforts to improve the Pound’s image.
“They’re doing a great job here,” said Pell. “They’ve made a lot of improvements and they’re getting things where they need to be.”
Swayne and his staff operate the agency on funds raised through tag sales and adoption fees. While donations of dog food and cleaning supplies are appreciated, Swayne says their most immediate need is to build a roof over the outdoor kennel. “We need to get the outside kennel covered so that we can house more dogs,” he says.
The outdoor kennel cages sit on a concrete block next to the Pound and are currently covered only by tarps.
“We’re hoping for a carport type shelter with one side covered to block the wind and weather but still allow for air flow,” said Swayne. “The animals love it outside, but still you want to have them in a place where they’re protected from severe weather.”
Anyone interested in volunteering at the pound may pick up an application at the agency’s office on Willow Avenue in West Union, behind the County Engineer’s Office.