For the second time in just more than three months, Monticello’s Animal Welfare Friends (AWF) shelter is responding to a drastic increase in stray dog pickups.
While the number of strays picked up usually varies, Manager Amy Bradley said in December the shelter generally sees about three or four a month. The shelter took in 10 between March 4 and March 8. While two have been claimed, eight, all pocket pitbulls found within a mile radius, have not. AWF Board President Cindy Bagge said the strays have put the already strained shelter under even more pressure.
“The adoption fee does not cover the total expense of a lot of the dogs,” she said. “We’re pretty much at full capacity right now. So, it takes more labor. It takes more employee labor, it takes more volunteers, but also it is a significant strain on our already tentative budget, particularly due to COVID.”
Because the breed is a rare one, Bagge said the shelter suspects they were dumped by their owner. The shelter has been working with local law enforcement, and an investigation into the incident is currently ongoing. The Iowa Humane Society has also been contacted.
If an owner cannot care for a dog, Bradley said in December the shelter would much rather have them be brought straight to the shelter and not abandoned. A generous supporter of the shelter has told the shelter she is willing to pay the $50 dog relinquishment fee for the next 10 families or individuals who cannot afford to pay the fee.
It’s important that owners make sure there’s some form of identification in the form of tags or microchips. When the shelter takes in strays, the first thing they do is check tags or see if the dog is microchipped so they can be returned back to their owner. After the identification check, the shelter has a seven-day period where they hold the dog for the owner to come forward and claim it before they become the shelter’s and begin the process of making them ready to be adopted out.
Concerning abandoned dogs, AWF had a few reminders as the weather begins to change.
• There is never a good time to dump a dog into unknown elements.
• Although the daytime temperatures have begun to be warmer, there still remains a strong possibility of weather conditions unsuitable for dogs to be left outside.
• Area residents should contact county officials if they see a dog who appears to be lost or dumped. Monticello and Anamosa residents can contact their police department. Other Jones County residents can contact the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.
• People who wish to get rid of an animal should consider options like finding a viable new home or by contacting the shelter in their county before resorting to dumping pets.
The shelter can be reached Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6:30 p.m. by stopping in at 22407 Bus. Hwy. 151 on the outskirts of Monticello or by calling 319-975-8283.