Putnam Co. Animal Control at capacity; euthanasia an option

Employees say they may have to euthanize the animals due to the lack of space.

Putnam County Animal Control reopened its doors Monday after three days of being closed because they couldn't accept anymore dogs. The shelter closed their doors on last Wednesday.

The staff told First Coast News they still have difficult decisions to make.

In the rural part of Putnam County, it is a daily struggle to bring dogs in off the street and know they will have a place for them at the animal shelter.

"It's a daily struggle," animal control supervisor Robert Pierce said.

Supervisor Robert Pierce says once again the Putnam County Animal Control is essentially back at capacity.
“It’s really a difficult circumstance," he said.

Currently, it is the temporary home for 40 dogs in Putnam County. Three shy of the
max capacity, which Pierce expects to meet any day.

Usually when the shelter is at capacity, they look to the 20 to 30 rescue groups to take in the animals. The problem is they're full too.

"They however have difficulty as well because they have so many fosters that they can work with and so they’re at capacity," Pierce said.

Pierce and his staff now have to decide whether or not to put down those dogs with health issues. Animal Control management says it's been two years since they've had to put down dogs for capacity reasons.

“We do our very best to avoid that, but those choices are difficult to make and they have to be made at some point, yes we are in the process of doing that,” Pierce said.

Roxanne Weeks says the county shouldn't have to worry about space. Minutes from a December 2016 meeting show county commissioners approved the donation of nearly 65 acres of land.

The contract within the agenda states "restrictions" on the use of the property, requiring that the majority of that portion of property which is buildable and not wetland, be utilized for the construction and establishment of a new animal control facility. The land would also encompass all facets of the County's animal control/services operation.

“In this time there’s no plans, there’s nothing, its enough talk, we need actual action,” Roxanne Weeks said.

The Animal Control supervisor says he hasn't seen specific plans either.

“I know that that’s being worked on and it’s something that’s not being ignored by the community leaders at all,” Pierce said.

First Coast News stopped by the Putnam County Administrative Offices to talk to commissioners on specifics, but did not receive a comment.

An animal control manager said only five of the 50 or so acres would be usable. That's double their current space, but say they need more land to care for the goats, horses and other animals they care for at animal control.

“They had years to think about, they’re aware of the problem and they need to do something,” the manager said. "We have a high foreclosure rate and eviction rate, when people have to leave if they can't take them to the animal control facility, they're just turning them out... letting them run lose."

Weeks believes things will only get worse if something isn't done soon.

“They cause problems in traffic, cause problems with kids of the bus, accidents happen with dogs running astray, It’s just the right thing to do, we need this,” Weeks said.

Putnam County Animal Control says they will double up the crates, putting two dogs in one cage if necessary to avoid euthanasia.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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