Highland County Deputy Dog Warden Lanny Brown admits money is tight when funding comes from $12 dog tags, but in addition to lighting and ventilation, other improvements are sorely needed at the Highland County Dog Pound.
“Over in the pound, it’s dark because there are no windows,” he said. “The only time we can get any light, or ventilation for that matter, is when we leave the door up.”
Some of the cages in need of repair or replacement have visible damage caused by vicious dogs that the animal control officers bring in.
“In another area where we clean the dogs up, some sort of drainage needs to be installed,” he said, “because when we’re done with the clean-up, we spray off what’s left and it runs out onto the grass.”
Cathy Seifer, the senior dog warden, would like to see facility mirror more closely what she sees in other Humane Society shelters.
“In other pounds, they have pet doors installed so the animals can go in and out,” she said. “We have no way of doing that over there since it’s all enclosed.”
Another item on their “wish list” is to employ a back room not currently being used for the purpose of quarantining sick dogs or when a litter of puppies is brought in.
“A lot of times we have to foster them off site,” Brown said. “We don’t want to put them in with the other dogs since we don’t know if they’ve had their shots, and sometimes the older dogs don’t treat puppies real well.”
In addition to the wish list, Brown’s other wish would be that people would be responsible and tag their dogs.
“About 70 percent of the dogs in Highland County do not have tags,” he said. “That’s around 5,000 dogs that are not tagged.”
Brown said the problem isn’t as bad in Adams and Brown counties because many have hunting dogs.
“They realize the benefit of tagging their dogs,” he said, “because they had to pay money, good money in some cases, for their hunting dog, and when they’re out sometimes they wander off, but with a dog tag they know they’ll always get their dog back.”
At the beginning of the year, Brown said, he had a list 40 pages long of people in Highland County that were known to have not tagged their dogs.
After repeated visits, phone calls and issuing of citations, that list is now around 17 pages.
Both Brown and Seifer would also like to see Highland County’s dog tag price be more in line with Fayette, Clinton and Brown counties, which they said charge $14 for dog tags.
“What people don’t realize is the amount of area we have to cover,” Brown said. “Highland County is 553 square miles and Fayette County comes in at around 400, and they charge $14 and we’re still at $12.”
Another thing people don’t realize is the dog pound is a great place to adopt a new friend.
“A lot of people to this day still think that when a dog comes here it’s a place to die, and that is simply not true,” Seifer sasid. “We wish we had more people that would consider us when they’re ready to adopt a dog.”
After a stray dog is picked up, the owner has 72 hours to search for the animal or call the dog pound, because after three days the dog becomes the property of the county.
“We work with a lot of dog rescues to find them a home,” Brown said. “We post their picture and information on the website and social media, and in this day where everybody is connected, somebody from someplace will show an interest in adoption.”
The adoption fee is $57, of which $12 is for tags, and the new dog owner receives a voucher that they can take to any Highland County veterinarian clinic for $75 off spay or neutering.
Payment can be made with cash, personal check or money order since the dog pound is not equipped to take credit or debit cards.
“People don’t realize how many pure bred dogs we get, too,” Seifer said. “So if you’re looking for some beautiful pure bred dogs, or just a new friend who’ll stick by you through thick and thin, please come visit us.”
The Highland County Dog Pound is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.