Nice weather is on the way...
We know with warm weather comes dog walks and outside playtime for all different animals. We respect all pets and time spent with them and want to keep everyone safe, happy and healthy. There are a few things that should be kept in mind with more time spent outside.
Within Decatur city limits no dog or cat shall be allowed to run at large, unrestrained at any time. This covers: dogs/cats going outside in a non-fenced in yard, taking dogs for walks without a leash, etc.
Animals found running at large can be picked up by Animal Control, impounded, owners given citations, and a fee placed to reclaim the animal.
With all animals there are certain messes no one really wants to deal with, but human decency says do the right thing. No one wants to carry around a little baggie of poo for a 30 minute walk with their pooch, but as pet owners it is what needs to be done. People put time and effort into their lawns and don't want bombs dropped in it by neighboring animals, especially people that don't own an animal.
Rolls of waste baggies are relatively cheap for a large amount and fit nicely in your pocket; they even make leashes that hold a roll. If you cannot afford this extra expense but don't want to leave messes, contact the shelter - waste baggies are always being donated.
Animals left outside, unaccompanied barking to no end can be called in for a noise complaint. If your pooch likes to talk, keep this in mind when they are outside. Dog owners are used to the bark, some don't even notice, but for their neighbors this can be quite bothersome. If barking goes on for 10-15 minutes without anyone attempting to stop it, animal control can be contacted and wardens will be sent out to give warnings and citations if it continues.
Animal control always gets busy in the summer as animals want to spend more time outside. Sadly the number of bites always go up in nice weather. Animals find a reason to break out for some reason or another - other dogs down the street barking, kids running by or playing near, motorcycles, the list could go on.
Be conscious and mindful of dogs on the loose. If you don't recognize the dog and you can't tell if it is safe or not, leave it. Call Animal Control. It is their job to safely restrain the animal keeping it and the neighborhood safe. Not all dogs that bite appear "mean" or aggressive, they could bite out of a fear reaction. It is not worth the risk.
Nice weather brings mosquitos. Mosquitos can bring heartworm. No matter the length of time your animal spends outside, they should be on heartworm preventative. The shelter sees so many abandoned dogs who are heartworm positive it is heartbreaking. Heartworms are preventable, but so easily spread. Ask your vet today about getting your pet tested and starting a preventative medication.
Check your Equipment
If your dog is on a lead, make sure it is fully intact, no worn spots or splitting wires. If they are on a chain, make sure it isn't rusted thru and is securely connected. Check collars to make sure they are not frayed and weakening, and metal rings are still intact. Often animals get loose because their restraint system failed, making their way to the shelter with inches of their lead hanging off their collar, or their collar at home still attached to their chain.
If you have a fenced in yard, check for escape zones. Dogs dig: we don't love it but it happens. They could dig under the fence until they can shimmy through to the other side. They can pop a board loose and walk right on out. Chain link fences or others made of metal restrain some and are seen as a ladder for others. We all think our pets will never get loose...until they do.
Animal Control has so much negativity behind it from the past, but they are just here to do good. They are not "the dog catcher" sending animals to "the pound". They take animals out of potentially unsafe situations and get them inside, safe, and fed until an owner is found.
If you find an animal, you need to remember you cannot take this animal in as your own -- that is considered theft. Animals need to be checked for a microchip that has owner information on it. Even if the animal is not chipped, it can still have an owner that is desperately looking for it. Post online seeking the rightful owner, ask for proof and return if the owner is found. If you cannot find the owner, please bring the animal to the shelter so they can do their best to find the owner.
Mail & Deliveries
Everyone gets mail and packages. Please make sure your animals are safely contained, away from where deliveries are made. No one wants a late package due to undeliverable circumstances, and no one wants their favorite postal worker to get bit. Most do carry pepper spray and while we like to think it won't happen, they will use it if they fear they are in danger and have no choice.
Loose animals breed, it happens every day, unwanted litters make their way to the shelter every year. Spaying and neutering your animals does not only prevent hundreds of homeless animals, it keeps them healthier. It prevents multiple healthy issues as they are growing older. The county has multiple low cost options for spay/neuter surgeries.
We want everyone to enjoy the lovely weather, keeping all family members, 2, 4, even 8 legged, safe.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to ask. Call (217) 425-4508 ext 4 and speak to a dispatcher or warden.