Pound full as dog days of summer near
DeSoto animal control officer Ann Davis never has a day off.
Davis goes twice a day, every day, to feed and give water to the dogs and cats at the city's dog pound.
"Weekends, holidays, it doesn't matter," she said. "I was here on Christmas."
Davis loves animals and said she doesn't mind the daily trips. For her, it's better than the alternative of putting the animals to sleep.
"We don't do that unless it's absolutely necessary," she said.
But with only six dog pens and a few cages for the cats, space is a problem.
"When we get full, I usually call the Lawrence Humane Society, Animal Haven in Shawnee or the Kansas City Animal Shelter," Davis said. "But we do have to put them down as a last resort."
Currently the DeSoto pound is full. With summer approaching, Davis said, that's bad news.
"Things pick up in the summer. We get a lot more calls from people about strays and it usually stays full throughout the summer months," she said. "And we don't even pick them up unless we're called. Some cities have animal control officers who do nothing but drive around looking for strays."
Once they're picked up, the city holds the animals for three days in hopes the owner will pick them up. After three days, the dog or cat becomes eligible for adoption, Davis said. Because the shelter is small and operates on a small budget, however, she doesn't have much time to promote that fact.
"We don't get a lot of people coming in to adopt," she said. "I don't think a lot of people know the pound is here."
Getting word out about the pound would also help reunite some of the animals with their owners, Davis said.
"I know a lot of the owners would come and get their dogs if they knew they were here," she said. "I'm sure a lot of people just think their dog ran off or got lost."
Owners registering their pets with the city would also make her job easier, Davis said. The city mandates that all dogs and cats are licensed. The fee of $2 for spayed or neutered animals is well worth it, Davis said.
"If I pick up an animal that is registered with the city, all I would have to do is look on their tags, look in the records and take them home."
The pound's small budget also leaves Davis scrambling to provide food and blankets for the animals. She gets some help from the Lawrence Humane society, but is always looking for local donations.
"All they have to do is call me and I'll go pick up whatever anyone wants to donate," she said. "Dog and cat food would be great and any old blankets people may have. I'll take just about anything."
Anyone interested in adopting a pet or making a donation should call Davis at City Hall or on her cell phone at 244-6437. There is a $5 adoption charge and a $20 deposit if the animal is not spayed or neutered. The deposit is refunded once the new owner provides proof the procedure has been done, Davis said.