Douglas animal shelter has dogs, and cats, who need homes |

Douglas animal shelter has dogs, and cats, who need homes

by Merrie Leininger

If you have room in your home and in your family for another member, Douglas County Animal Control would like you to consider the fuzzy sort of relative.

During October, the shelter is celebrating Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, a national campaign led by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals about the benefits of adopting a dog from the millions available at more than 6,000 shelters across the nation.

Rhonda Fingar, Animal Control supervisor, said Douglas County alone has 18 dogs in addition to two litters of kittens and a few adult cats.

Fingar said the cost may appear high at first, but with the proper care, your new pet will pay you back.

“You have to be able to make the time to take them to training or train them yourself and dedicate a whole lot of time to this animal you are going to adopt,” she said. “But it pays off 10-fold with the love they bring back to you.”

The family that is thinking about getting a pet should seriously ask themselves five questions, Fingar said.

n Am I ready to make a long-term commitment?

Fingar said people who adopt pets should be aware they will have to take care of a dog for 10 to 15 years or up to 20 years for a cat.

n Is the animal right for my household?

She also said a serious consideration is the size of your household.

“You don’t want a Great Dane in a 5-by-5-foot yard. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is this going to be the right dog for my situation?’ If they have five kids under 5 (years old), they don’t need a dog,” Fingar said.

She said a family should visit the shelter at least a few times and introduce the pet to every member of the family, including other dogs, to see if the new animal would be a good fit.

“Most dogs that come through here are strays, so we don’t know anything about them. That’s why we recommend coming out with everyone to see how it gets a long,” she said. “It is a long-term commitment.”

Fingar said the staff of animal control will always warn a prospective owner of any known behavior problems.

She warned, however, they have been wrong in the past.

She cited the example of an senior citizen who walked into the shelter one day with the help of a cane and fell in love with a puppy, who happened to be a Great Dane.

“We were afraid for her, but she took him home and he is now the best dog she ever had, and he is fiercely protective of her,” Fingar said.

Families can now spend time getting to know their prospective pet in the new exercise yard.

“That’s why we built it, for people who want to get to know an animal a little bit better and socialize with it a little better,” Fingar said. “They can run and play or just sit and talk to it.”

n Who will be the primary caretaker for the animal?

Fingar said one adult should be the primary caretaker for the animal to prevent it from being forgotten about during a busy day.

n Can I afford the animal?

The total costs must be taken into account. Veterinarian bills, pet food and supplies will always be necessary during the life of your pet.

The initial costs can be high, also. For a female dog under 50 pounds, the adoption fee, license, rabies shot and cost of spaying total $82. For a female dog of more than 50 pounds, it is $97.

A male dog under 50 pounds costs $72 and a male dog of more than 50 pounds will be $87.

A female cat costs $41 while a male costs $31.

The costs are dependent mostly on the difficulty of the surgery to sterilize the animal. A Nevada law makes it illegal for an animal to leave the shelter without being spayed or neutered.

The animal also receives a free health exam and a free distemper/parvo combination shot from a veterinarian.

Other costs include fencing your yard if it isn’t already and some kind of shelter, like a doghouse.

Other than getting a puppy or kitten spayed or neutered after it has been adopted, the shelter doesn’t have any other requirements. If a kitten or puppy younger than 6 months is adopted and doesn’t get spayed or neutered, animal control will know and has the authority to remove the pet from your home.

“We don’t need more litters out there,” Fingar said.

n Am I ready to train this dog to be a good canine citizen?

Some animals become completely unruly when they are neglected.

A pet owner has to be dedicated to exercising, petting and talking to their animal regularly.

“Don’t get a dog just to say you have a dog,” she said.

n If you’ve answered yes to the above questions…

If you think a new dog or cat would fit in well with your family, go on down to the shelter and take one off the hands of the five overworked animal control employees.

“The biggest problem here at the shelter is finding great homes for the animals,” Fingar said. “People should just come on out and take a look. We want everyone to have a happy, healthy home – dog and owner.”

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