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The Southwest Missouri Humane Society has a new executive director. KSMU’s Matthew Barnes spoke with him about where he hopes to take the animal shelter in terms of growth and serving the community.
Darin Landrum has 12 years of experience working with a variety of animal shelters around the country. He says most of the changes here will be minor to keep up with the times.
“Well there’s a lot of aspects in a shelter. No shelter is ever perfect and every shelter is ever changing because the industry is ever changing. But just areas of animal health, well-being,” says Landrum.
[Nats: dogs barking]
According to Landrum, a building to the side of the shelter originally used for storage will be turned into an isolated care facility to provide better individual care to animals with health problems.
“It’s just for animals that are sick and in need of treatment. But what it allows, it won’t allow for any cross contamination or any kind of virus to spread inside that those dogs might have,” said Landrum.
Landrum says the staff will be given additional training to better deal with aggressive animals.
“An animal that comes in that is aggressive to can be several underlying conditions. It can be scared, fractious or can be just one of those bad apples. Approaching an animal straight forward standing over them, it’s a challenging position and dogs are going to read that. But if you are trained and you know that you don’t give eye contact, you step sideways. It will relax a dog a little bit more so you can approach them and deal with them,” says Landrum.
Not cornering an animal will also help keep it calmer, says Landrum. While dealing with aggressive animals maybe troubling at first, it’s something he expects the staff will get used to.
“It’s repetition. It needs to be [at] a point where they are doing it enough where they are comfortable with it. Of course, we don’t like it when animals come in aggressive, but we need to be prepared for it. And the only way to be prepared for it would be to handle those situations often and be comfortable with it,” says Landrum.
The staff will have more time to get accustomed to the less than pleasant animals. Another change to the Humane Society will be its extended hours to seven days a week, closing at 6:00 each evening.
“That’s going to be a change on site that allows people to have more access to the shelter,” says Landrum.
For KSMU News, I’m Matthew Barnes.