The Animal Welfare Friends shelter has seen a drastic increase in stray pickups.
Over the past few weeks, the shelter has picked up nine stray dogs. While that number usually varies, Manager Amy Bradley said the shelter generally sees about three or four a month. The shelter took in four in less than a 24-hour period at one point this month.
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. None of the recent strays had any microchips, and very few had anything to help identify their owner at all.
The shelter usually holds an annual low-cost microchipping event to help with this problem, but COVID-19 forced it to be cancelled. Even something as simple as a rabies tag gives the shelter information that they can check with a local veterinarian to try to make an identification.
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. While all but two of the dogs that had been picked up had been claimed, some reunifications only came about because Bradley happened to stumble across a post from an owner searching for their dog.
“There were two that I got last Friday, they were here almost a week before I saw that someone had posted a picture of them being missing on Facebook,” Bradley said in a call Dec. 17. “If you’re missing a dog, call the shelter.”
If an owner cannot care for a dog, Bradley said the shelter would much rather have them be brought straight to the shelter and not abandoned. Back in September, Bradley picked up a stray named Marshall near Morley. When he was picked up, he was severely emaciated—weighing just half of his healthy 70-pound weight.
While Bradley was able to pick up Marshall, the story doesn’t always have such a happy ending.
“We had two that were running around outside Monticello that I tried to catch, and other people were trying to catch, and, unfortunately, both of them within a day got hit on the highway,” she said.
When it comes to strays, Bradley stressed the importance of making sure there’s some form of identification in the form of tags or microchips on your pets so they can be returned as swiftly as possible to their owner. The shelter can always 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.