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Health Department Celebrates Six Month Milestone of Program for Adoptable Dogs

For the past six months, the Springfield Animal Shelter, which is run by the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, has been working with local rescue organizations to help get dogs adopted. To celebrate this milestone, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department has planned a celebration. KSMU’s Samuel Crowe has this report.

Before this new partnership, the Animal Shelter and the local rescue organizations worked independently of each other. Beginning late last October, adoptable dogs that were impounded at the Animal Shelter have been sent exclusively to these “no kill” rescue organizations. The result? More adoptions and less euthanizing. Mike Brothers is a spokesman for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

“Those are essentially stray dogs, dogs we took in that were not claimed by their owners. They are dogs that in past years, if we hadn’t been working so closely with the rescues [organizations] and they hadn’t been so passionate about their work, those dogs might have been euthanized. But we haven’t had to euthanize any of those potentially adoptable ones for 26 straight weeks now,” Brothers said.

Part of being “potentially adoptable” means a dog can’t be vicious. The other part is based on an dog’s health.

“We give them some vaccinations. We groom them a little bit if they need that. We have a volunteer groomer that comes in once a week. So they may not be in the best condition when they come in, but we do a number of things to bring them up to a sort of a baseline condition. That really helps them become more adoptable and helps our rescue partners have some better animals to work with,” Brothers said.

SOUND: dogs barking

One of those rescue partners is the C.A.R.E. Animal Shelter in Springfield. Staff member Geoff Koppes says the rescue organization works hard to make sure each dog is the right fit for a home that wants to adopt it. The process starts when C.A.R.E. picks the dog up from the Springfield Animal Shelter.

“We usually pick them up on Wednesdays. They’ll usually go to our location out in Ozark. We put them in a quarantine area where they spend a minimum of two weeks. We check their health, their temperament, just get a general evaluation of each individual animal and what their needs are going to be,” Koppes said.

After some more vaccinations, the dogs are spayed or neutered. From there, the dogs are ready for adoption at either the Ozark or Springfield location for a price of 85 dollars—a price he says is a great deal for an animal that’s already vaccinated, fixed, and checked for heartworms.

“85 dollars is less than what you would pay if you just got a free puppy somewhere, and went out and took them to a vet and got all that stuff done. So we take a little bit of a loss with our adoption fee but it helps move them through. We have a lot of help from the public giving us donations so it’s really worth it to have it [price] lower and take a little bit of a loss on the medical side to make sure we place them in homes, because we get a lot of support,” Koppes said.

To celebrate this new partnership, the health department is holding a partner recognition celebration Friday, May 4that Phelps Grove Park in Springfield. The public and their pet dogs are invited. More information about the celebration can be found at our website, ksmu.org. For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.