ALLEN COUNTY — Puppies, kittens, and more — oh my. The Ohio SPCA and Humane Society of Allen County is currently home to 50 dogs and 250 cats. With the great surplus of animals comes great responsibility.
Stray animals are in need of not only shelter but care throughout their day. The animals cannot walk themselves. The Humane Society, along with other shelters throughout the region, relies on the help of volunteers.
“The biggest thing is that we need volunteers and donations,” said Paige Collins, a volunteer. “People may not realize that this shelter has no funding. People forget the shelter is back here. It is down a long lane. It is really just making sure people realize that yes, what these dogs have been through is terrible and they are better off here, but at the end of the day, they all need a home. They need their second chance just like people do.”
The Humane Society of Allen County Director Jason Asaro weighed how the pandemic has impacted the shelter animals and overall support.
“COVID had changed our process in how we handled our dogs with the public for sure,” said Asaro. “We noticed during COVID when we had to lock things down and not allow people to walk through the rooms, that the mental state of the dogs became better. Their anxiety dropped. They would go crazy with strangers walking by. We began to bring the dogs out and it shows more of their real personalities.”
Although the pandemic helped with the animals, it had a huge impact on staff and financial support.
“COVID has definitely changed the financial support,” added Asaro. “We also lost a lot of volunteers. It’s never made it back up to what it was. The financial status in general has probably hurt people’s ability to donate. We just need more people to donate because the small pool of people that do aren’t able to donate as much.”
Some animals reside in the shelter longer than expected. Due to different circumstances, some dogs may go to the shelter later in life and struggle to get adopted.
“A lot of people have a misconception that just because they are in a shelter something is wrong with the dog,” said Stephanie Cox, a volunteer. “Sometimes we have owners that die and no one can take care of their animals.”
Asaro added some people may not want to give up their dogs but have no other option.
“Lately it has been an economic issue,” said Asaro. “A lot of people have had to move and go into a place where they can’t take their dogs. It is a hit or miss with the age of dogs. We never know what we are getting. You see an uptick in return of adoptions probably within the first two to three months of the year. It’s probably around March, is when you will start seeing it. At the end of December people get a puppy and a month or two later the puppy is too much to handle, then they have to give it up.”
The Humane Society hopes to change the course by adding some new changes. Collins plans to work alongside the team by campaigning to bring more donations to the shelter, obtain volunteers and help house the older canines.
Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.