AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On a regular basis, animals are brought in to the Mahoning County Dog Pound, and after a mandatory quarantine period, they’re housed in an intake area.
It’s what happens after that which could determine whether these dogs can be successfully adopted, according to Dog Warden Dianne Fry.
“We can certainly do our part to make sure these dogs have a positive outcome if we’re able to put them back out in the public,” she said.
Recently, workers have been practicing what they’re calling “enrichment by kennel,” trying to keep the animals mentally and physically active, and less aggressive.
“To teach them, a lot of times, how to be dogs again, how to play, how to investigate things and have people — positive people — in their lives,” she said.
It’s as simple as smearing peanut butter on a Frisbee from the dollar store and hanging it outside of their kennels. Or, perhaps filling a piece of PVC pipe with dog food, screwing on a cap, and you have a “slow feeder” to keep the animals engaged.
“Anything that is routine, day after day, you get bored, and if we can change that up, in any way, that’s going to be a positive experience,” said Dr. Courtney O’Neill, of the Austintown Veterinary Clinic.
It also helps workers learn more about the conditions that the dogs had lived in before coming to the pound and what would-be new owners should know before adopting them.
“A lot of the dogs, we have no idea what their background is, so we don’t know, have they ever been off a chain in their life? Have they ever been in a house? Or in a building? So, you know, it’s starting slow with those type of things and making it more positive,” Fry said.
Currently, the pound has about 30 dogs in the intake area and another two dozen on the adoption floor, waiting to be claimed.
“We want them to be in homes lifelong, not for two weeks and then find out that they’re destructive,” O’Neill said. “We want them to stay in a house.”
In the end, that would mean not having to come back to the pound again.
You can find more information on adoptable animals online or by visiting the pound at 1230 N. Meridian Rd.