More dogs are going to new homes from the Portage County Dog Pound while the number impounded decreased last year, according to the pound's annual report.
Portage County Dog Warden Dave McIntyre told county commissioners recently that 426 dogs out of 766 dogs taken in last year were either adopted directly from the shelter or taken by various rescue groups. Another 272 were returned to their owners.
The number impounded reflects a 15 percent drop from 2011, McIntyre said. The total does not include 273 dogs surrendered by their owners or 24 pit bulls brought in prior to May 22, when state law was changed. Prior to that, pit bulls were deemed vicious simply because of their breed.
Also, McIntyre reported the number of dogs euthanized last year totaled 68, including 23 because of sickness or disease, and 45 due to being vicious.
That's a vast decrease from 14 years ago, when the pound euthanized more than a thousand dogs a year. Since 1999, the number of dogs euthanized at the pound in Shalersville has decreased nearly annually, along with the number of dogs impounded.
McIntyre attributed the overall reductions to increased efforts by rescue groups and to better licensing of dogs and education of owners.
"People are more aware of licensing their dogs, which helps get them returned, and of not letting their dogs run loose," he said.
The number of stray dogs also has decreased as people get their pets spayed or neutered, McIntyre said.
He also praised the help of the Friends of the Pound, a nonprofit volunteer group that helps with running rabies clinics, the shelter's booth at the Portage County Randolph Fair, getting dogs ready for adoptions, exercising and grooms dogs in the pound, and transporting dogs to the veterinarian for medical treatment.
"What a blessing. They are extremely dedicated and committed" to helping animals, McIntyre said of the volunteers.
"And our staff, I think they've been phenomenal. If it wasn't for the staff we obviously wouldn't be able to accomplish what we have."
There were 19 dogs in the pound at the end of the year when the report was compiled.
A total of 3,693 complaints were investigated by the warden and his staff, not including lost/found dog calls.
McIntyre said he had 47 dog bites reported last year, with the highest number coming from Labrador-type dogs.
McIntyre also reported the spay/neuter numbers were up last year over 2011. Of a total of 240 surgeries done by the PetFix Mobile van, 96 dogs and 78 cats were from the public.
Dog license sales also were up 2.7 percent last year.
"We're up to 30,093 dog licenses. When we started in 2007 we'd only sold a total of 22,000 dog licenses" a year, McIntyre said.
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