Adopting a puppy is supposed to be happy time. Adopting any animal should leave you with the feeling of relief and overall empowerment.
Adopting a puppy from the Logan County Humane Society last July left me feeling disgusted.
I was desperate to adopt a puppy and searched for a small dog breed that would adapt easily to living in an apartment. I researched and contacted several shelters. Logan County told me they had a litter of Chihuahua mixes, and I was thrilled.
My excitement waned as I pulled up to the shelter. Dogs were chained outside to cars, trees, the sides of buildings and anywhere else you could imagine. I couldn’t take a step without a barking dog struggling to jump on me. The smell of urine made me gag as I explored the dogs housed in kennels on the bottom floor of what seemed to be a dilapidated house.
As I ventured into the office upstairs, I was shocked to walk through a swarm of flies. Finally I was shown a small room that housed more than a dozen cats roaming around on tables, desks and chairs.
As I stepped further in, my shoes stuck to the floor, with every step spreading feces and dirt into a “kennel” of puppies. Five 3-month-old puppies barked and jumped and ran to my attention. The “kennel” was a makeshift home of cardboard and duct tape. While the dogs were clean, they roamed around in their own urine and feces.
I picked up my dog, Lucy, paid for her and vowed to never come back.
I don’t regret adopting Lucy, but the experience I had in Logan County never sat well with me, and it became apparent the effects that the poor conditions had on her temperament and behavior. Training Lucy, who was used to peeing wherever she pleased, was a nightmare.
Within days of bringing her home she became aggressive with strangers, fearful of new experiences and to this day doesn’t respond well to other animals near her food.
Hundreds of dollars, months of training and countless tears later I have a loving, well-behaved dog. I cannot say that the disgusting conditions directly lead to her bad behavior, but I can imagine what a clean, well-maintained and structured environment would have done for her development.
On April 14, the director of the Logan County Humane Society resigned and two of the shelters board members were removed, according to a story in the Bowling Green Daily News. An investigation from the Daily News and the threat of a lawsuit spurred changes in the organization, which can be seen in videos posted on the Logan County Humane Society Facebook page.
These videos show clean kennels, sanitary supplies and increased vet supplies. Partnerships have been created with the Bowling Green Humane Society and RePets Animal Rescue. Under new leadership, adoption drives and updated animal listings on petfinder.com have reduced the number of dogs in the shelter. A video tour of the shelter shows dogs finally clean, free to roam, healthy and happy.
How can a shelter go on for so long without any consequence for their animal negligence? A big part of it is people like me who see the conditions, feel their stomach sink with sickness at the sight and then never do anything about it.
If you would like to help the Logan County Human Society with their transformation, their Facebook page is constantly posting opportunities to volunteer, photos of adoptable dogs and supplies needed. RePets Animal Rescue, who is spearheading the improvements, also has instructions on their website for how to best help the shelter at repetsanimalrescue.com.