Dog warden updates County Commission


August 21, 2012

GALLIPOLIS — The new Gallia County Dog Warden Paul Simmers updated the Gallia County Board of Commissioners about the Gallia County Animal Shelter during a regular meeting on Thursday and offered his suggestions to improve the operation of the facility located on Shawnee Lane.

“Essentially, what we are trying to do is maintain a specific number of dogs out there so we don’t have what I walked into. We want to keep it in the 30s, or so, and make sure they are out on rescue; and, I don’t mean get them out there and send them to foster, I mean, get them moved out and make sure they are adopted,” Simmers commented. “So far that is working really well.”

During the meeting, Simmers discussed his proposition to institute a quarantine fee, as well as reduce the adoption fee for puppies — ideas that, according to the dog warden, may help to increase revenue at the shelter.

Simmers reported that he would like to institute a $40 fee for those animals that are placed under quarantine, whether it be at the shelter or at the dog owner’s residence.

According to Simmers, dogs are placed under quarantine for a mandatory 10-day period after they have been involved in a bite and must be observed by the dog warden to ensure they are not diseased nor have the tendency to bite once again.

The resources of the shelter are utilized, including food, for those dogs under quarantine that are housed at the shelter. In those situations where owners have a structure to house the dog, preferably a kennel, where they can be held in quarantine, the warden still must travel to the owner’s residence and observe the dog several times over the 10-day period.

Simmers suggested that a fee be instituted to recoup the lost time and other resources used in quarantine cases.

“We really need a fee — one set fee for quarantine — one way or the other for dog bites,” he said. “We’re doing all this work and we’re not getting anything for it.”

Additionally, Simmers suggested that the fee be dropped for the adoption for puppies at the shelter to help improve the adoption rate for the youngest and most-adoptable dogs.

According to Simmers, the current fee may be too much for new dog owners who are taking a risk in adopting puppies which are the more susceptible to disease than mature dogs.

“We can move puppies a lot faster at $20 than at $50 — that’s $7 for the license fee, $13 for the dog, because, at that particular point, they are taking a risk with the pup — to make sure they are make it through the Parvo stage,” Simmers said. “If we can do that, that would help immensely, as far as revenue.”

Currently, it costs $50 to adopt dogs at the shelter, including puppies, and an additional $7 for a dog license.

“They are going to pay $57 for a puppy and, a week later, something could happen and the dog is gone and they are just out $57,” Simmers said.”You got to worry about what these pups are going to pick up and what they’ve got. Generally, we are very clean now and everything is taken care of as far as the shelter, but once they are outside that element, you just don’t know.”

The current fee scale for adoption also includes a $40 spay/neuter voucher that is given to the new owners of the dog and, during the discussion, County Commissioner Lois Snyder discussed her concern over how the voucher program would be handed at a lower fee scale for puppies.

“I think for right now, and this is just my personal opinion, we need to continue to give them that $40 voucher and that’s up to them to take that dog in and have it spayed or neutered,” Snyder said.

The commissioners told Simmers that they would take the suggestion for a quarantine fee as well as a lower adoption cost for puppies under advisement.