Animal Shelter and holidays: finding pets a good home

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As the Christmas holiday comes to Switzerland County, one group of dedicated county workers is striving to find a home for those who need a good, loving one.

Terry Scudder, animal control officer at the Switzerland County Animal Shelter; said that as Christmas nears the county shelter is filled with dogs and cats – and he, along with co-workers Keli Hall and Roger Cooley, are working to match these animals with loving owners.

“We currently have 21 dogs here at the shelter, but we also have dogs in foster homes around the county also,” Terry Scudder said. “At the present time we also have nine cats; and also nine foster cats out, also.”

Terry Scudder said that the bad economy has contributed to a lower adoption rate this year than in the past; but when the holidays come, it can be both good and bad times at the shelter.

“Usually around Christmas we have lots of puppies,” Terry Scudder said. “This year we’ve gotten lucky and we’ve gotten rid of all of our puppies. We’ve been able to find them good homes.”

Terry Scudder said that the Switzerland County Animal Shelter uses an organization known as “Canine Express”, which uses the Internet to match animals in shelters with potential homes across the country.

If someone wants to adopt a dog or cat from the county shelter; it’s not as simple as just walking in and taking one home.

“When you come through the door, we ask you a few questions about them and what type of animal that they are looking to adopt,” Terry Scudder said. “We want to know where it’s going to be and how it’s going to be taken care of. We ask that you fill out of form, and then you go back and we show you what we have.”

Terry Scudder said that county animal shelter rules state that the dog or cat must be spayed or neutered before it is adopted out. Once potential owners pick out a pet, either animal shelter workers or the owner can take the animal to be spayed or neutered and the shelter pays for it. That is included in the adoption fee that owners pay.

“All the de-worming, rabies shots, and the spay or neuter are included in the adoption fee,” Terry Scudder said.

Adoption fees are $100 for any dog one year old or younger; $85 for dogs between one and five years of age; and $75 for dogs over five years old.

Cats under one year old may be adopted for $75; while cats over a year old are $50.

The Switzerland County Animal Shelter is open on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Thursdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays 8 a.m. until noon. The shelter is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The shelter is closed today (Thursday) and tomorrow; but will be open on Saturday, December 26th, if residents are interested in looking into a pet adoption.

Along with the local adoption, organizations such as Canine Express works to place dogs in homes in Eastern States like Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine.

“We take them to Batesville or Indianapolis, and we meet them and they take the animals to their destination,” Terry Scudder said. “We’ve probably done over 400 of those this year.”

At the core of the Switzerland County Animal Shelter is the need to control the animal population in the county. Terry Scudder said that the shelter received a $10,000 grant to help pay to have animals spayed and neutered; and all of that money has been used.

“It proves that people will participate in the spay and neuter program if we put it out there,” he said. “Hopefully this next year we can continue to do the same thing because we feel that it is very important and it’s been a big success for us this year.”

But as Christmas nears, Terry Scudder and the team at the Switzerland County Animal Shelter warns that giving children a dog or cat as a present is something that should be carefully thought out.

“When people come in here, we make sure that they know that it’s about more than just taking home a dog.” Terry Scudder said. “The dog has to have its shots updated. We brief the people on what they need to do. We have a packet of information that we give to the person who is adopting the dog.”

But if a Switzerland County family does decide to adopt a pet from the shelter, Terry Scudder said that it’s a wonderful opportunity to provide a loving and caring home for an animal that will return that love.

“Pets are great things,” Terry Scudder said. “We hope that people come out and look into adopting from the shelter.”