Continue to Make Critical Updates to Franklin County Dog Shelter.

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Franklin County Dog Shelter needs to update its practices for assessing dogs. Currently, dogs who are shy, timid, afraid, show even the slightest food guarding tendencies, have health issues, or are elderly, are not allowed on the adoption floor. These dogs when assessed, are scared and often come from situations where they have been neglected, underfed, and abused. The vast majority of these dogs are good, loyal dogs who just need some love and chance to find a home. It's time for Franklin County to update its dog assessment practices. While many rescues are able to take in dogs the shelter deems "unworthy" of the adoption floor, the County needs to share in the responsibility of ensuring each and every dog finds a loving home.

Below is a list of changed the shelter should make to help it become a more humane place dogs and up-to-date with 21 century shelter practices. While many updates have been made (reinstating the foster program, holiday sleep over programs), there is still much work to be done. With the recent euthanasia of Amari, among others, it's clear we can work together to help save these dog's lives, while keeping communities safe.

1/8/2020 Updated Requests:

1. Hire a full-time behaviorist, and/or training who can providing meaningful and helpful advice in dealing with dog behaviors common in the shelter. Many dogs are labeled as dangerous in the shelter, however, when released show no sign of aggression. Establish ways to address this issue outside of euthanasia as it is known many dogs are mislabeled and/or characterized while in the a shelter environment.

2. Require staff to be trained in dog behavior and basic dog training techniques. Anyone working with or dealing with dogs at the shelter should be required to be trained in basic dog behavior and modifications techniques. This helps not only the dogs, but the people handling them as well from a safety standpoint.

3. No longer scrub owner requested euthanasia from your live release numbers, and no longer accept these requests without question. At nearly 800 dogs in 2018 - and accounts for nearly 50% of all euthanasia at the shelter - this is a euthanasia number that needs heavily considered. Some open admission shelter studies suggest that when this criteria is dropped, nearly one fifth (20%) of dogs originally requested for euthanasia by owners we indeed savable and effectively rehomed. In 2018 at Franklin County Dog Shelter, that is roughly 160 dogs.

4. Rethink the purpose of the shelter - movement toward resource center. Today, both public and private shelters are moving towards being resource centers, more helping individuals/communities get the information and resources they need to keep pets in their homes. Many pet owners simply need temporary assistance or simple resources to help keep their pets.

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Original petition requests

1.Improve potential adopter screenings: The need for quality screening of potential adopters to introduce "Before Bringing Adopted Dog Home" and "30 Days After Adoption" tips. If screenings are not possible, provide mandatory education before pets are adopted that goes over the basics of dog decompression, and tips, tricks and resources for common dog behaviors.

2. Do not label dogs a certain breed if the breed is unknown: The actual breed of a dog cannot be determined unless through DNA testing therefore unless the breed type is obvious the dog should be labeled mixed breed. This will allow more fair treatment of "pit bull" type dogs.

3. Shorten wait times for assessments: Wait times for dog assessments are too long. There is a need to reduce wait times for dog assessments to allow more time for rescues and adoptions to occur. Because dogs are kenneled 24/7 while waiting for their assessment the reduced wait time will reduce stress in the dog possibly allowing for a better assessment result.

4. Stop the "walk by cage" only assessments: There have been too many "walk by cage" only assessments and as such, assessments should always be hands-on.

5. Reinstate the shelter cat introductions: The shelter cat introductions need to be reinstated. This helps determine if a dog is compatible with a cat. This is two fold: it reduces the number of dogs returned for not getting along with the resident cat and it also allows homeless cats to find forever homes.

7. Improve partnering with the rescue community: The shelter needs to play a larger role in partnering with the rescue community. An album of "Rescue-Only Dogs" in the shelter lobby would allow general public the ability to inquire should they be interested. Also reinstating the shelter fostering program would take the load off of the rescue community. Consider partnering with local pet stores to give more dogs the opportunity to be adopted through different store fronts.

8. Do monthly follow-ups: Update the volunteer program to include monthly follow-ups to all volunteers to get their input on needed changes or concerns.