The Fayette County Dog Shelter is currently at capacity and officials fear that measures may have to be taken should several dogs not find their “forever homes.”
The FCDS is an 18-kennel facility that picks up stray and/or lost dogs and offers assistance to people looking for lost dogs, tips on dog care and adoption. The shelter provides a spay or neuter coupon, a 20 pound bag of Pedigree dog food, an up-to-date license tag good in all counties in Ohio, and up-to-date shots if necessary.
“We’ve had some of these dogs since March and April,” said Nelson Prater, the assistant dog warden. “The thing is these are some really great dogs, but the right family or people just haven’t come to see them yet. I can go in and they’ll love on me and there is no sign of aggression. A lot of these dogs are being looked over because they are aggressive towards other dogs. You can’t just pick up a dog and it instantly connect. You are going to have to work with dogs that come into a family.”
Recently, “Maggie,” a Mastiff-mix, was given to the shelter after her owner died. “We don’t normally allow surrenders because we already have to pick up so many strays that need homes, but Maggie never lived with other dogs. Her owner was a private man and they lived alone with each other. With some time there is the possibility of her getting along with other dogs in the home, but right now she doesn’t know how to handle another dog. You can’t just pick up a dog like Maggie and expect it to just be okay, you have to work with her. She’s a very sweet dog and she could be a great family member, but it has to be the right person. She’s started eating again, which is great. For awhile we were worried because she was so sad, she wouldn’t eat,” said Prater. “Now she just needs a home.”
The FCDS is a low-kill shelter. “You can’t really have a no-kill shelter, it’s just not plausible,” Prater said. “We hate when it has to be done, but we don’t have the ability to keep every dog we come across forever. Especially dogs that will have to be worked with. It’s not fair to the dogs that will move easily. For some reason, people get the idea that the dogs in Ross County or wherever else need help more than our dogs do. That’s just not true.”
Last year, the FCDS euthanized only three dogs, and so far this year there has been no need to euthanize. “It’s already September, and there hasn’t been a need to put any dogs down,” Prater said. “But right now we are at full capacity, there are other dogs that we might have to pick up, and nobody is taking these guys home. And they are great dogs.”
The City of Washington C.H. passed an ordinance allowing “pitbull or pitbull-like dogs” to live inside the city limits.
“The problem is, people come in and see dogs with a boxy head and leave, thinking they’re pits and they are mean dogs, and these dogs we have here definitely aren’t,” said Prater. “I can go in right now and they’ll just love on me and let me play and cuddle on them. It takes a special person to take these dogs, they’ve had a hard life.”
“Sometimes these guys come off as aggressive while you’re looking at them in the kennel, but really it’s because one starts barking and getting excited and then they all start in,” said Prater. “They just want the person’s attention asking to go home with them. They get out on a leash away from the loud and crazy of the kennel and they are perfectly fine and sweet.”
“We hate to think about putting any dog down,” Prater said. “But we might not have the choice soon.”
The FCDS is located at 1550 Robinson Road and can be reached at (740) 335-6630. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Cost of adoption is anywhere from $24 to $74.
Reach Kellee Bonnell at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @newskelleebee.
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