Last updated: August 22. 2013 8:46PM - 1346 Views

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LIMA — The Allen County dog warden is launching a pilot program in an effort to educate dog owners and offer preventative treatments at a low cost.

“If people can’t afford proper pet care, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a dog. It means they may need some assistance,” said Julie Shellhammer, Allen County dog warden.

The goal of the program is to assist low-income, dog-owning Allen County residents and have them comply with Ohio dog laws. Primary goals of the program include: Having every dog in the county registered or licensed, decreasing the number of stray dogs or dogs running at large, decreasing dog bites, and offering low-cost vaccinations and sterilizations.

As dog warden, Shellhammer’s biggest responsibilities are keeping dogs from running at large and having every dog older than 3 months old registered with the county.

“If I can be proactive and try to address some of the issues causing these problems, that’s my ultimate goal. It makes our job more efficient and helps the community,” she said.

Vaccinations and sterilizations at the dog warden will be at a give-what-you-can donation, which can be costly for some dog owners. Dog sterilizations in particular have many benefits, she said.

Dogs who have the treatment are less likely to run away, less likely to be aggressive, which in turn decreases the number of dog bites inflicted on humans and other dogs, less likely to develop mammary and testicular cancers. And obviously, unwanted litters will be prevented, therefore decrasing the number of dog euthanasias.

“I’m trying to get to the root of the problem and be proactive,” she said.

Those preventative methods are going to be implemented at a clinic from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Cheryl Allen Center. The event includes going over responsible pet care, dog toe nail trims, annual vaccinations and veterinary care, and dog licenses sales. At the clinic that day, there is a free bag of dog food included with each dog license purchase.

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