12/03/13 — County: Holidays won't mean more euthanizations

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County: Holidays won't mean more euthanizations

By From staff reports
Published in News on December 3, 2013 1:46 PM

Rumors are unfounded that dogs and cats housed at the Wayne County Animal Adoption and Education Center will be euthanized because the center will be closed during the holidays, officials said.

The animals will be well taken care of through the holiday season, even though the facility is closed to the public, the officials said.

Animal Control Director Vicki Falconer said she had heard rumors regarding the fate of the animals during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and wanted to set the record straight.

"When we close the center on holidays, that means we are not open for the public to come in and adopt dogs or cats," Mrs. Falconer said. "But designated members of the staff are still assigned to come in and clean the shelter, as well as to feed the animals. We operate on holidays the same way we do on weekends when the center is closed."

The shelter was closed last Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. It will be closed for Christmas from Dec. 23-27.

It also will be closed on New Year's Day.

Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said a holiday does not change how animals are cared for, or generally how the shelter is operated internally.

"We do not euthanize any dogs or cats in preparation for any holiday," Smith said.

"It is possible that animals will be brought in, if it is an emergency situation," said Barbara Arntsen, the county's public information officer. "There is also a possibility that an animal, or animals, could be euthanized during that time period if there were extenuating circumstances such as they were hurt, sick or contagious."

Mrs. Falconer says that she and her staff try to place dogs with rescue organizations for fostering over the holidays.

"Since we are not at the center as much during the holiday season -- except to clean and feed -- we do ask the rescue groups to foster as many dogs as possible during this time in order to give the animals an opportunity to be with people," she said.

If people are thinking of adding a pet to their family as part of a Christmas gift, they need to make sure they know the responsibilities involved in caring for a dog or cat, she said.

"It's sad, but statistics show that shelters get a lot of 'returns' after Christmas," she said. "It's not fair to the animal."

Smith also said that the county has received a lot of "great ideas" and suggestions over the past six months regarding the operation of the shelter.

"I plan to meet with the Animal Advisory Board and the staff to review issues such as hours of operation, staffing requirements, certifications and other vitally important responsibilities involving the public in the protection of animals," Smith said.

Normal operating hours for the center are Monday through Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m.

It also is open the first and the third Saturdays of the month from 10 a.m. to noon.