Faced with health and government officials’ instructions to practice social distancing with fellow humans, local residents seek other friends: dogs. Within Highland County in the last three weeks, shelters, rescues and pounds have noticed an increased interest in their adoptable dogs.
According to Highland County Humane Society Manager Ami Poynter, the society has experienced an increase in adoptions since mid-March.
“In the last three weeks, I’d say we adopted out 15 dogs,” Poynter said. “I think a lot of people want a dog they can take outside and walk. Everybody who has come in has said now is the perfect time to add a family pet. They thought now would be a good time because they can work with the dog and get it trained now, so it’ll be better for them after everything’s back to normal.”
As of Tuesday, Poynter said only one dog remained at the Humane Society. He came to the society as a stray on Saturday and became available for adoption on Tuesday.
Though the Highland County Dog Pound has seen a steady flow of adoptions, Friends of the Highland County Dog Pound member Pat Lawrence told The Times-Gazette that more rescues have been requesting dogs from the pound.
“The rescue groups we work with across the state are certainly seeing an increase,” Lawrence said. “In the last week or so, four dogs were pulled for rescues in one day. We were all so excited.”
As of Tuesday, there were 13 dogs at the pound.
Highland County Deputy Dog Warden Macy Walker told The Times-Gazette that the pound has seen an increase in calls about stray dogs.
“We’ve had a lot more strays lately,” Walker said. “I think more people are seeing dogs walking down the road and calling because they don’t want the dog to get hit.”
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Walker recommended that those looking to adopt a dog look at the available dogs on their Facebook page before coming into the pound in order to cut down on the amount of interaction. She also requested that those who are ill contact the dog pound through Facebook, email or phone instead of coming into the pound.
“If you have a fever, please stay home,” Walker said. “We’re trying our best to not infect the public in case we’ve come into contact with anything. We don’t want anyone in the community to get sick, and we don’t want to get sick. We don’t want to bring it home to our families.”
Poynter said that though the Humane Society is still accepting walk-ins, she appreciates that many potential adopters have been calling ahead. Currently, the Humane Society can only allow one family unit at a time in the building.
Both the Friends of the Highland County Dog Pound and the Highland County Humane Society are always accepting donations. Cleaning supplies like bleach are always needed.
Poynter said those interested in donating items to the Humane Society are welcome to drop the items off outside the building during business hours.
Lawrence said those who would like to make a monetary donation to the Friends of the Highland County Dog Pound should mail a check to P.O. Box 496 in Hillsboro.
Walker said the best way to support the Highland County Dog Pound is to license your dogs.
Find the Friends of the Highland County Dog Pound on Facebook. To view dogs available for adoption at the pound, visit the “Highland County Dog Pound” Facebook page. To make an appointment to meet one of the pound’s adoptable dogs, call the dog warden at 937-393-8191.
To view animals available for adoption at the humane society, visit the “Highland County Humane Society” Facebook page. Reach the humane society at 937-393-2110.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.