The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 18, 2013

Animal control: Fewer pet surrenders

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Enid Animal Control is seeing fewer pets surrendered at the shelter on South 10th.

Figures for the past three years show a steady decline in the number of pets being abandoned by pet owners.

In 2011, 1,763 dogs and 992 cats were surrendered at the shelter. In that same year, 156 dogs and 21 cats were adopted.

The number of surrendered dogs decreased 23 percent, to 1,428, for 2012. However, 15 more cats were surrendered to the shelter last year than in 2011.

Animal Control Supervisor Allen Elder said he thinks the improvement in the dog numbers can be attributed to a better educated public and greater awareness of what animal control does.

The Adopt-A-Pet (Enid Animal Shelter) Facebook page also has played a role, Elder said.

“I think they’re more aware of what’s going on,” he said. “We have a lot of people coming in.”

This year, not including all of November and December, 1,251 dogs and 937 cats have been surrendered. But 411 dogs have been adopted, along with 116 cats — nearly six times the total for 2011.

The Facebook page has 5,461 likes and has greatly increased the exposure of available animals to the public.

Volunteer and adoption coordinator Rachel Hancock, who began the  Facebook page, said it’s given the animals reach into other states.

“I posted a picture of one of the animal control officers holding one of our available dogs, and over 4,000 saw it and about 231 people liked it,” she said. “It ends up going to most of the town, towns around Oklahoma and out of the state.”

Hancock also said the public’s perception of animal control officers is changing.

She said the officers do more than capture the animals and out them into cages.

“They hold them and play with them and spend time with them, too,” she said.

To keep the number of animals surrendered low for the year, Elder recommended this for planning on giving pet as presents this year.

“Before you adopt an animal for a family member, you need to ask them first,” he said.

Hancock added: “It’s a lifetime commitment. It’s a lifelong commitment for that animal.”

The facility, at 1200 S. 10th, is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The shelter will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but will reopen Dec. 26.