Doggy Death Row

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

"Look at them sad eyes. You don't want to be here, do you?" Animal Control Officer Terry Dodson asks a dog as he scratches it behind its ears.

Only 12 dogs remain homeless at the Page County Animal Shelter after a drastic rescue effort shuttles 38 animals off to loving homes.

"But the sad thing is this won't last. This is just a band-aid on the problem," says Carmen Cline, President of "A Forever Home," an animal rescue group.

The problem is that the four rescue agencies that rallied together Saturday to save these animals from doggy death row aren't local. Animal control officers here say Page County adoptions are less than one percent. And with so few cuddly creatures being taken home, some meet an unfortunate end.

"They were going to euthanize as many as 40 dogs here today but we rallied our forces and saved these dogs this morning," Cline says.

No dogs have been euthanized since September, but those who call it home are strapped for medicine and more.

"They don't even have money for food. So a bunch of organizations in Northern Virginia have been collecting food and donations to bring down here. And we delivered about 2700 pounds of food in the past few months," says Cline.

The state has mandated that the shelter be updated and the county has promised a new facility for several years. Funding has supposedly been set aside, but Animal Control Officer Terry Dodson says he hasn't seen it and he needs it soon.

"We average about 30-40 dogs this month. No, it's more than that. Probably about 50-60," says Dodson.

There is some good news. The shelter is now listed on petfinder.com and that has been good for business.

Bill Galloway, Shelter Manager, says, "Our interest rate is up immensely. It's probably double or triple what it was before."

Animal control is also asking that more people spay or neuter their pets in Page County. That simple step would certainly reduce the number of homeless puppies there.


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