Lesley Hall: Summit Animal Shelter a humane facility | SummitDaily.com

Lesley Hall: Summit Animal Shelter a humane facility

Lesley Hall, Director
Summit County Animal Control and Shelter

It is true that Summit County Animal Shelter is not a “no-kill” facility. Many “no-kill” shelters do not accept unadoptable pets, or they transfer them to a shelter that will euthanize them. Summit County Animal Shelter is an open admission shelter, which means we accept all domestic pets regardless of age, temperament, breed, health, behavior or aggressiveness. Due to this policy, there are times when we have to euthanize animals because they are not adoptable. We will not knowingly adopt out an animal that is unhealthy or unsafe to the public. Our annual euthanasia rate currently averages between 2-3 percent, which includes owner-requested pet euthanasia. The owner requests amount to 40 percent of the total incidents of euthanasia. The small number of pets that are euthanized are typically due to untreatable health conditions or unmanageable behavior issues.

Summit County Animal Control and Shelter has set the example of responsible pet ownership by sterilizing, vaccinating, and microchipping all animals prior to adoption, conducting dog behavior assessments, screening potential pet adopters, and providing proactive enforcement of animal control laws. The positive results of these efforts is shown in the reduced number of animal impounds and euthanasia. The nonprofit organization, League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS), also gives great support for pet owners in Summit County by providing spay/neuter vouchers that act as a coupon to discount spays and neuters at local vets. LAPS also helps numerous qualifying pet owners by providing financial assistance for various medical procedures, including full spay/neuter assistance.

Summit County has many people who take action to support pets. Each quarter the Shelter averages 100 volunteers who give their time to the shelter animals by exercising, grooming, socializing, and caring for them. Our volunteer program is extremely valuable, as it helps to increase the adoption potential for each shelter animal. Summit County also has landlords who take action to support pet owners by listing their pet-friendly rentals on a list maintained at the Shelter. This information is given to any pet owner who asks about pet-friendly housing. The Animal Control and Shelter Humane Education program is another valuable service that is active in the schools and with youth groups. This program is led by shelter staff members and volunteers who educate children on pet responsibility and proper pet care.

I do agree with Mr. Catrambone in that pet owner’s should practice responsibility and accountability for their pets. In turn, this promotes a positive image of pet owners. Summit County has many responsible pet owners but, as the saying goes, one bad apple spoils the whole bushel. Obeying the animal laws in the area of which you live does show respect for others who live in your community.

Mr. Catrambone is calling for action to “change the shelter now.” I challenge Mr. Catrambone to take action by first educating himself to what Summit County Animal Control and Shelter actually does to promote a pro-pet community.

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