By Dawn Hankins at Shelbyville Times-Gazette
What do a Blue Heeler, a Pit Bull, a German Shepherd and a Chocolate Lab mix all have in common? These are currently just a few of the latest dog breeds housed with Shelbyville Animal Control.
Some dogs are cast-offs, according to Shelbyville Animal Control director Randy McCullough, while others roam from home as a result of owners not having the animals spayed or neutered.
“Sadly, some people just don’t know how to take care of their dogs,” McCullough said.
Shelbyville’s animal control officers are trying to keep the animals as safe as possible until they’re adopted or reunited with their owners.
Animal control, according to recent reports presented to Shelbyville City Council, is averaging around 30 live dog pickups a month. There are a few owner surrenders, as was the case this week with a Blue Heeler, according to McCullough.
Any pet owner wanting to surrender a dog to animal control should call 684-6552 to make an appointment. There is a fee as approved by Shelbyville City Council last fall.
To accommodate the continuous influx of dogs, the animal control team is currently working in conjunction with Leadership Bedford members to upgrade the current facility on Industrial Parkway.
McCullough said he appreciates how Leadership Bedford chose to include his department on their project agenda this year. He said he’s really anticipating the new space.
The director showed off the new paint that has been added to the interior of the current kennel area. There is also now a seating area adjacent to the kennels where prospective dog adopters can get acquainted with their new pet.
Sometimes it’s a match made in heaven and other times the partnership just doesn’t work out, according to McCullough. Still, he advised there are plenty of pets to go around in this community.
In addition to renovations, animal control will be able to house over 30 dogs soon in a new building being built behind the current facility. This new space will include guillotine doors, which McCullough explained raise and allow for easy transfer of dogs, especially during cleanings.
Shelbyville City Council agreed to fund additional space for animal control last fall.
Leadership Bedford’s planning, since also being given the green light to do renovations, includes pressure washing, painting and repairing kennels and the office area, improving food storage and enhancing landscaping along with other facility improvements.
While he’s certainly a proponent of pet adoption, McCullough advised there are many facets to adopting and owning a pet. One of those is that new owners need to be able to afford proper veterinary care and the possible unplanned medical needs of their pets.
While the city is prepared to fund the new wing, the adult leadership class is currently accepting donations from local businesses, industries and individuals who would like to support its efforts toward this much-needed animal shelter improvement-known kindly as the “Bark for Bedford” campaign.
McCullough notes his department is busy rescuing dogs from city streets-most who’ve strayed from their homes.
As he takes out two black Cocker Spaniel puppies, which were recently found abandoned, McCullough notes other than financial responsibility, dogs need a lot of love.
To demonstrate how they feel about the pets at animal control, staff have these words posted on the outside fence: “adopt a pet . . . something you’ll never regret.”
Advice for owners
Animal control offers the following tips for responsible pet ownership:
•Keep your pet confined on your property by fence, rope, chain, kennel or on a leash. Have your dogs and cats vaccinated at a licensed veterinarian. This will prevent your pet from becoming infected with deadly and contagious diseases.
•Spay or neuter your pets. Prevention is the key to reducing the number of unwanted pets.
•Provide your animal with adequate food, water and shelter.
Shelter is defined as at least three sides, a roof, and a floor raised off the ground at least 2 inches.
•Confine female pets when in heat.
•Clean up after your pet. Pet feces is responsible for spreading and infecting other neighboring animals.
•Put identification and rabies tags on your pets. This will help identify your pet in case of injury or loss.
•Educate children to stay away from all stray animals and to notify parent, teacher or adult when one is around.
•Report all stray animals to Shelbyville Animal Control at 684-6552. Shelbyville Animal Control is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.