According to Jefferson County dog control supervisor Todd L. Cummings, this situation has not happened before. He was referring to the large number of small canines presently up for adoption at the shelter. Historically, it is much easier to find larger dogs and the little ones are generally the first to go. At this time there are 10 in the shelter in great need of finding loving homes.
On Sunday, November 3, during National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, the dog pound will hold its 14th Annual Open House. In an article in the Watertown Daily Times yesterday, Todd L. Cummings, long time supervisor of Jefferson County dog control, said it was unusual to have such a large number of small breeds at one time.
"This has never happened before," he told Times reporter Daniel Flatley. Historically, smaller dogs are the first to be selected for adoption. Mr. Cummings said that last year 16 Pit Bulls were present during the open house and all were eventually adopted.
Mr. Cummings also notes the difference spaying and neutering has made in the number of canines without homes.The shelter has seen a significant increase in the number of altered animals, versus thirty years ago when he was a new employee. He estimates that two-thirds of the dogs seen are now spayed or neutered.
Statistics also show that during 1983, the year Mr. Cummings started work, the shelter euthanized half or more of the 1,500 dogs they saw that year and the adoption rate was only 28 percent. Now times have changed and he is pleased to say the shelter may break their record for the least number of dogs euthanized in a year. To date, there have been 12 dogs put down at Jefferson County dog control in 2013, according to that agency's records, compared to more than 750 in 1983. The adoption rate has gone from 28 percent in the early 1980's to 92 percent in 2013. The pound has housed 441 dogs so far this year.
Jefferson County dog control is one of the last three county-sponsored shelters left in New York State. The facility began in 1964, transferring to the present location in 1973. The county assumed all dog control responsibilities in 1999 when the city of Watertown relinquished its pound in Thompson Park.
The Jefferson County dog shelter staff invites the public to tour the facility on Sunday, November 3 between 10 a. m. and 4 p. m. at 21897 County Route 190. Among the canines available for adoption are a Chihuahua, a Poodle, Beagles, Jack Russells, a Terrier and, most unusual, an Italian Greyhound. There is also a female Pit Bull that was taken in during an animal cruelty case. She is reputed to be sweet-tempered and now doing well after receiving veterinary care and nutrition intervention. "Rosie" weighed only 23 pounds when rescued and is now weighing in at a much healthier 47 pounds, according to Mr. Cummings.
In September the shelter was beyond capacity, housing more than 30 dogs, the adoption rate having dropped off considerably for some reason.
The shelter will host tours of the facility and offer refreshments, educational displays and door prizes. Also featured at the event are the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department's K9 unit. All of the shelter's dogs have received vaccinations for rabies and parvo/distemper. The cost of adoption is $45.
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