No shortage of stray animals in WorthingtonWORTHINGTON — Worthington resident and dog groomer Sandy Slone was pulling into a downtown bank Wednesday afternoon when she noticed a stray dog running near the street.
WORTHINGTON — Worthington resident and dog groomer Sandy Slone was pulling into a downtown bank Wednesday afternoon when she noticed a stray dog running near the street.
She let the “friendly” dog climb into her car while she waited for Worthington Animal Control Officer Virgil Veen to pick him up.
The Good Samaritan said this is more than just an isolated incident, adding there’s a big problem with stray animals around town.
“When a person’s pet is missing, it doesn’t seem like they go to all the areas needed to find (it),” Slone said. “They assume it’s dead or gone, and they go on with life without them.”
“The pet overpopulation is just nuts,” she continued. “The cats are running amok in town, (there are) a lot run over on the streets.”
The animal control officer agreed with Slone.
“There’s a fair amount of feral cats,” Veen said. “We notice them the most when they are trying to get in the garbage, and then they call me to set traps.”
People living on farms often take the cats for their barns, Veen said.
To help with the stray animal population, Slone suggested that pet owners spay and neuter their pets.
Veen thinks the problem has died down over the last few years, thanks to the dog tag ordinance passed by the Worthington City Council.
Dog and cat owners must provide proof of current rabies vaccination before purchasing a license. The licenses are available at the police department, or the Veterinary Medical Center.
“That’s helped a whole lot,” Veen said. “The tags have a list on the computer, so we can see who the dog belongs to and get it back to them.”
Worthington Police Sergeant Tim Gaul said the department averages about one call a day dealing with animal complaints, mainly with barking dogs.
“Dog calls are less in the winter,” Gaul said. “Barking dog calls are not nearly as much because windows are shut.”
Police try to give people the benefit of the doubt when they receive animal complaints, Gaul said.
“Maybe they don’t know or understand the law, so we do some follow-up,” he said.
If the owners don’t have the proper tags, Gaul said they usually have about 24 hours to get them.
“If they do, great. If not, there’s a chance we give them a ticket for an unlicensed animal because they didn’t do what we asked them to do,” Gaul said.
The sergeant said Veen is able to get most of the lost animals back to their owners.
As of Thursday, Veen said there were four dogs in the pound, but he was hopeful that two would soon be going back to their owners.
The pound is meant for up to eight dogs, but he said there have been 14 dogs at one time because he’s “never turned away dogs.”
Before animals at the pound can be adopted, Veen said there is a week’s wait to ensure the original owner doesn’t claim them.
If stray animals are found, Gaul said to call the police department at 295-5400.
Daily Globe Reporter Kayla Strayer may be reached at 376-7322.