SUBJECT: Stray Dogs
First of all, I thank you for your comments and concern about stray dogs in our city. As you may know, the stray dog problem is nothing new; it’s persisted for decades. This is a national problem; it does not matter what city or town you call, they all will tell you they have stray dog problems.
The long-standing deep-seated nature of the issue is one reason why it hasn’t been resolved. The embedded cultural forces that create the stray problem make it tougher to fix. Furthermore, community members and national boosters are quick to rally around a “no kill” cause. There’s a public will behind trying to increase the “live” release rate from animal shelters. With that, we need volunteers and additional resources. We have received hundreds of calls for service to pick up strays. We have only one animal control officer available and it is numerically impossible to bring all these dogs in for adoption.
We’ve proven that we can do “no kill”, but be advised that these dogs were captured and/or brought to the shelter by individuals, subsequently, for adoption. We’ve had a great percentage of success in adopting our dogs out.
Prior to my administration the methodology the city had in place for years was to pick as many stray dogs as possible; those animals were euthanized within a few days. They were many innocent dogs killed just because they were stray. With that said, it didn’t deter the number of roaming dogs out there.
The long-term solution is to increase efforts surrounding education and sterilization. Spaying and neutering as many animals as possible, stray or owned, is perhaps the most important factor to resolve the problem. Until you do that, it’s pure mathematics, you are not going to reduce the stray population. Adoption is like treatment, you’re treating the problem but you’re not solving the epidemic.
I know that you’re looking to the city to fix the problem; let’s be honest about this; if everyone in the world was to say that the problems caused by stray dogs weren’t their responsibility, the problem wouldn’t get solved at all. How hard is it to pick up the phone and call the police and report the problem? I’m aware that one lady called the police and was told that they do not pick up strays. Please do not call the police department after 5:00 p.m. due to the phone automatically rolls over to the E-911 operator. They will tell you they do not pick up stray dogs. Our police officers are on duty 24 hours a day and will be glad to assist you with your dog problem. If you do call E-911 please ask for an officer to go by your residence and he will discuss the procedure with you. In any incident concerning stray dogs please do call because you could be changing the life for an animal, you could find them a new home, get them back to their original owner that could be distraught because they lost them, and generally give them a new lease of life.
The City does not use the services of professional dog catchers (we can’t afford them), so we hired an individual who is doing his best. He is an animal lover and handles the animals that he catches in a humane manner and he is learning the dog catching business on every catch he encounters.
I am amused at the sudden media (Facebook) interest in this problem. I remember when I was a young kid living in Geneva in the 1950’s; there were stray dogs everywhere; but back then the parents took care of the strays but eventually the stray problem would reappear. It goes on and on. The dog catching business is a thankless profession and I applaud any person that is in business of catching dogs.
If you have any suggestions to this problem please feel free to call me or come to my office and I will be glad to discuss the matter with you.
As you may know, dogs are “fast” breeders. Let me give you one fact; If an animal control officer catches 5 to 6 dogs a day (really not hard to do) there is a minimum of 12 dogs that give birth to roughly around 60-70 puppies on a daily basis. This is true.
The City of Geneva only has one (1) shelter available for housing dogs. There are eight individual cages within the shelter. The shelter stays full, year round. We have been fortunate to adopt our young puppies to outside agencies but we usually have anywhere from 8 to15 large dogs in the shelter at any time. The only dogs that we euthanize are vicious or diseased dogs that are untreatable.
Our animals that stay in our shelter are well taken care of. They are fed and watered on a daily basis, 7 days a week, all year. They are treated in a very humane manner. I encourage anyone to visit the shelter. The animals have air conditioning during the summer months and heat during the winter months. The shelter is equipped with a washer and dryer; there is hot water available to wash the blankest and other items that belong to the animals.
My wish is for Geneva County to build a facility to house strays through the county. I have spoken to the authorities in charge and they advised that they have looked into the matter and it would cost approximately $250,000.00 at the minimum. I certainly understand their position but hopefully in the future things will work out.