Coronavirus: Stray dogs looking for homes during the pandemic

Stray dogs looking for homes during the pandemic

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Jay Johnson wondered whose dog it could be.

While playing with his own dog, Tiny, in the front yard of his Miami Township home, Johnson said the mixed breed dog came running up, eager to play.

“That dog had a real nice personality,” Johnson said.

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Unclear on who it might belong to, he checked with neighbors. No answers.

So Johnson called the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center.

“I was hoping to call somebody like the animal warden or something to get the dog,” he said.

But the answer he got surprised him.

“Nobody would take it,” Johnson said, telling News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy, he ended up having no choice but to let the dog go. A decision that, as a dog owner, has been difficult to think back on ever since.

“I didn’t want (anything) bad to happen to the dog,” he said.

Montgomery County officials said the reason the dog Johnson found could not be accepted is part of a policy currently in place at the Animal Resource Center (ARC) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to reduce staff exposure.

“We have pulled back recently during the pandemic on doing non emergency calls,” said Brianna Wooten, Montgomery County Director of Communications & External Affairs.

At present, that means ARC is not taking stray animals.

Wooten said ARC plans to lift this policy in the coming days, though, as it returns to more normal operations June 1.

She added, though, even under normal operations, the shelter should not be the first choice when someone finds a dog.

“It’s stressful for the animals and it can lead to other issues – health issues for animals as well,” Wooten said. “So we really do encourage people to try and re home animals in the field , try to find the owner before ever bringing it to us in the first place.

ARC has also recently added a new fostering program. According to ARC, anyone interested in fostering or volunteering can contact the center’s outreach coordinator at (937) 264-3327.