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Unleashed – PAWsitive Stories from Salt Lake County Animal Services

Celebrate National Walk the Dog (Pet) Day


February 22, 2021

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walk the dog day

Celebrate your pets’ favorite activity, and walk them on February 22, 2021 as part of National Walk the Dog Day. Salt Lake County Animal Services wants to remind all pet owners to walk your dog on leash unless you are in a designated off-leash area, with a sign that says dogs can be off-leash. Also, don’t forget those pet-waste bags to clean up after your pup. You don’t want to be a nuisance.   

 

How & Why to Celebrate Walk the Dog Day:

  • Take your dog somewhere they’ve never been. They LOVE new smells.
  • Join a Virtual 5K or sign up to walk for your favorite rescue through other virtual apps such as WoofTrax.
  • Invite a friend and their pup to join you, and pack treats! Who doesn’t love a treat break for good behavior?
  • Walking reduces stress and anxiety in both you and your dog!
  • A walk everyday is great for your dog’s health, and yours.

 

For more information about laws regarding walking your pet on leash and cleaning up pet waste, visit the “Laws” section on our website for more information.


World Spay Day 2021


February 10, 2021

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world spay day blog

If you look around the internet hard enough there is a day for everything!  Some are just for fun, some are local, and some of them are a really big deal – like WORLD SPAY DAY! World Spay Day is historically celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of February – so this year it is February 23rd.  You’re asking yourself, “Who celebrates a day that is all about removing the reproductive organs of pets?” Well, to that we say Salt Lake County Animal Services does, and so should you! 

The Doris Day Animal League (yes, that Doris Day) founded Spay Day USA in 1995 as a day to bring attention to the pet overpopulation problem in the United States and also to encourage animal population control by spaying and neutering pets. The movement later spread globally to over 70 countries and is now known as World Spay Day. Animal welfare agencies, rescue organizations, and even veterinarians worldwide celebrate and support World Spay Day as a day of awareness, a day of action, and a day of hope.  Hope that someday, with the help of the communities we support and serve, we can bring an end to the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable animals in our nation’s overcrowded shelters.

Here in Utah, we have an amazing animal welfare and rescue community that has been on this mission since 2008.  Thirteen years later, Utah is ALMOST a ‘No Kill State’ – the state is only 1% away from it being official!  Here at Salt Lake County Animal Services, we have been at or above the ‘No Kill’ metric since 2013. This achievement is due in no small part to the heroic efforts of our amazing veterinary staff. They are here seven days a week, 365 days a year, and every year for the last ELEVEN years our vet staff has averaged over 3,200 spay or neuter surgeries/year.  That’s almost 36,000 animals that are not able to reproduce and contribute to community animal and shelter overpopulation! 

Imagine how many animals have been spayed and neutered in the last eleven years by other organizations all over the country – that is an unfathomably huge number.  But still, every year shelters are being forced to euthanize over ONE MILLION ANIMALS in the United States alone. That number is WAY down from the estimated 2.6 million animals euthanized in 2011.

So how can you help? Every year in the United States 70,000 puppies and kittens are born.  Surveys of the pet owning community indicate that almost 60% of those litters are accidental.  If we were able to prevent all of those unwanted canine and feline pregnancies, we could prevent over 410,000 puppies and kittens every year!  We know that sounds like a huge task, and it is!  But, with our community’s help and diligence about getting your owned pets fixed, we are well on our way to a solution to our pet over-population problem.  But now you’re thinking “but puppies and kittens are SO CUTE!  We can just find homes for all of them, right?” We all wish that were always the case, but with over one million pets still being euthanized in shelters in the United States every year, we’re afraid it’s not.

Even though our shelter and many others in our community are ‘No Kill,’ there is room for improvement.  Here’s where you can help – please spay and neuter your pets BEFORE they have a litter!  If they’ve already had a litter, let us help you get them fixed before you find them new homes.  If you have already fixed your all of your pets, first of all – thank you, consider donating to our Spay & Neuter Fund so that we can continue to help those who need assistance in our community! 

So you want to get your pet fixed - where do you start?  Check with your veterinarian about getting your pet fixed today! Citizens in Salt Lake County can schedule their pets for spay/neuter surgeries at lower prices with our clinic ONLINE. These spots are for owned pets and licensing is required for animals within our jurisdiction with the spay/neuter appointment.  During the appointment, your pet will also be microchipped and vaccinated. 

What about the community cats, you ask?  Well, community cats in our jurisdiction are getting more attention than ever as well. We have added even more TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and SNR (Shelter-Neuter-Return) services to our jurisdiction and we are creating a Working Cat Program for cats that come to us and don’t especially want to live in households.  We are expanding programs to help other trappers, rescues, and veterinarians in our community too.  We realize that if we all work together as a team, we can bring the community cat population down and keep it under control.  You can help us with this goal too!  If you see community cats in need, please email our Community Cat Team at cats@slco.org.

Pet overpopulation can be prevented one pet at a time. 

Written by:
Randee Lueker/Rescue & Events Coordinator


Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthy


February 01, 2021

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cat health month

February is National Cat Health Month. It’s time to celebrate your feline friends and make sure they are happy and healthy! Here are some tips from Salt Lake County Animal Services to help you be a responsible pet parent:

1. Take your cat in for a vet visit
Yearly vet visits are a must for any cat owner. Cats tend to hide their illnesses until it is almost too late for them to recover. Yearly bloodwork and vaccines will help keep your feline friends healthy.

2. Keep your cat active
Cats tend to sleep most of the day but help keep them active by introducing them to new and different types of toys!

3. Prevent obesity
Obesity in cats can lead to other health issues including Diabetes. Ask your veterinarian how much and how often you should be feeding your cat. Keeping your cat active will also help prevent obesity.

4. Cuddle your cat
All cats enjoy “cuddling” in a different way. Some prefer to sit next to you on the couch while others want to always be in your lap. Give your kitties the type of affection they enjoy daily whether its chin scratches, cuddling under a warm blanket, or getting pets while sun bathing!

How Staff Care for Cats at the Shelter

At Salt Lake County Animal Services we monitor our cats closely and help keep them happy and healthy while they are waiting to find their furr-ever homes.
Every cat that comes into the shelter as a stray are examined by our Animal Care Specialists during the intake process. They are all weighed, vaccinated, and checked for a microchip. If any medical concerns are seen our veterinarians are notified.

Cats are monitored daily for the amount of food/water they are eating/drinking, their behavior, and urination/defecation. All senior cats have bloodwork sent to the lab after they are off of their stray hold.

All of our cats get fresh food and water a few times a day, different enrichment activities to keep their brains busy, and an extra designated afternoon nap time to keep them refreshed for visits with potential adopters. If you're interested in adopting check out our adoptable pets or if you would like to foster a cat, find out more about our foster program.

 


2nd Annual Cutest Couple Contest


January 29, 2021

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Cutest Couple 2021

Salt Lake County Animal Services is excited to announce its 2nd Annual Cutest Couple Contest! By couple we mean, you and your pet. Anyone who would like to participate is welcome. When the voting begins be sure to tell your friends and family because the "Cutest Couple" will win:

• A 1 night stay for you and your pet at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City
• $100 Visa gift card
• Personalized Gift Basket for your pet

How To Enter
A $10 donation is required to enter. Please follow the directions below:

1. Go to http://bit.ly/slcocutestcouple

2. Click "Donate" at the top of the page.

2. Enter $10 in the donation amount.

3. Fill out your contact information and submit your donation.

4. Email a photo of you and your pet to nsimmons@slco.org. 1 photo per entry.

*All submissions are due no later than 5PM February 13th.

Things To Know
The winning couple will be determined by the number of votes.

Voting will be open to the public beginning February 16th at 10AM and will close February 28th at 5PM.

Every $1 counts as 1 vote and you can vote as many times as you want!

The couple with the most votes will win a 1 night stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City (winning pet welcome) and a $100 Visa gift card!

*If there is a tie between couples the winner will then be determined by the number of individual votes.

Questions? Email nsimmons@slco.org.

This is a fundraiser sponsored by Salt Lake County Animal Services. All funds raised from this event will directly benefit the animals at our shelter.


2020's Long Term Resident: Dollar


January 14, 2021

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dollar

We are sure you have seen the term “Longest Term Resident” posted before when referring to an animal in a shelter. While some animals find new homes quickly, others sit and wait for their turn for months. This does happen from time to time at Salt Lake County Animal Services.

Each animal at the facility, no matter their length of stay, is provided daily enrichments, time outside (for dogs), music, oils, lights out hour (for quiet napping) and time to hang out with staff and volunteers. Enrichments for the dogs rotate daily from a frozen Kong, toys toys in their kennel, a food puzzle, a Nyla bone, etc. The cats receive lick mats, toys, and lots of treats. Each day both dogs and cats have a music hour, diffused oils and more.

These are essential components to help the animals in our care and are meant to provide enrichment short term while they are with us, but what happens when you have a “Long Term Resident” one that ends up being in the shelter for months, how do you help keep their minds active, and help them thrive in the kennel they call “home.”

Dollars' Story

This is the story of Dollar; he is one of many that have become “Long Term Residents” at the shelter. Dollar was found as a stray and brought into our facility March 17th, 2020, literally the week the world shut down. Dollar was scanned and had a microchip. We called the microchip company and the people had moved and changed numbers and did not update any of their information. We had hit a dead end. Dollar waited through the 7-day stray wait period and no one came in to redeem him, so Dollar was assessed and placed up for adoption.

Dollar was very young and handsome and seemed like a candidate for a quick adoption. This was not the case for Dollar, he became a “Long Term Shelter Resident” beginning his strange journey to his forever home.

Dollar was young and in need of manners and did not have great skills with other dogs in the shelter when we first met him. It was the first of the pandemic and staff was focused on trying to place dogs into foster homes as we were not sure what adoptions would like in the coming months. Dollar was one of over 88 animals that was lucky enough to find a foster home.

Dollar’s foster home invested a lot of time and energy into working with him and teaching him better manners and within a couple of months had decided to adopt him. Unfortunately, this is not were the story ends. His adopter had bought a new house and on either side were dogs and people who had breed bias, Dollar is a Staffordshire Terrier (AKA: a “Pit Bull”) after much consideration and knowing that the odds may largely be stacked against them in their new neighborhood, they returned Dollar.

Dollar then waited and waited for someone to make him a part of their family.

While Dollar waited, he was growing up in the shelter and the staff became his family and as such began teaching and training Dollar. Dollar needed daily enrichments to help him work his mind and keep him busy. Staff members created a training plan for him to help him learn how to walk on a Halti properly, basic manners and to be muzzle trained.  He excelled with all his training and high fives were his favorite command to give.

Dollar had been advertised on social media many times and had developed a fan club of sorts, people who loved him and wanted to see him succeed but unfortunately could not adopt him themselves. Just like many times before we listed Dollar on social media, but this time let people know that Dollar had been in the shelter nearly 200 days and that was far too long to live in the shelter. This day, this post, it went VIRAL! It was all over the internet. Over 3.000 shares. One of the shares went onto a page of a person who stepped forward and claimed to be Dollars owner after 7 months in the shelter. 

Remember we told you he was microchipped? They never updated their information when they moved so we were never able to contact them and let them know he had ended up at the shelter.

After 7 months and very long conversations, Dollar was heading home. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. After 3 weeks back in the care of his previous owners they contacted us and said they were not capable of taking care of Dollar and wanted to return him. While we were very sad to hear this, we were grateful that they had reached out to us.

Dollar was a part of our family and we had grown to love him and had invested a lot of time and training into him.  Once again Dollar was looking for a home that could meet his needs and want to make him a part of their life.  After all he had been through, we had to become very strict about the person who would come in to meet him.

Poor Dollar had become a “Long Term Resident” and had a lot of cards stacked against him for adoption. He was not the perfect fit into any home, and that is sometimes very hard for people to understand, and for adopters to understand why it is that organizations have the rules they do. As an organization we always want what is the best for the animals in our care and the potential adopters who will be welcoming them into their family. We knew that Dollar’s time would come, he would find that perfect fit. In the meantime, we continued our trainings with him. 

On December 4th, 2020, Dollar met his person, the one who took to heart each thing we knew about Dollar, the one who understood he is a great boy who will still need structure, training, and dedication, the one who came in and fell in love with Dollar and all he had to give. 262 days after he first came into the shelter, Dollar found his forever home. We have received updates and his new dad loves him, is committed to continued Dollar’s training and we are happy to see that he is succeeding in his new home.

Long Term Shelter residents are not always common to find in a shelter, but it does happen and thanks to dedicated staff, volunteers, and a supportive community, it’s why dogs like Dollar have a happy ending.

If you would like to learn more about our enrichment program and the items needed please look at our wish list.

If you are interested in volunteering please email: animalvolunteer@slco.org for more information

If you are interested in fostering please email fosters@slco.org for more information

If you are interested in adopting, please visit our Adoptable Pets page to see our available animals.


Senior Life: Dashielle


January 11, 2021

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Dashielle senior pet

We would like to take a moment and celebrate one of our cat adoptions from 2020. Often at Salt Lake County Animal Services, a pet will enter our shelter after their owner passes away. This is what happened in Dashielle’s case.

In May of 2020, Dashielle, an 11-year-old, neutered male, arrived at the shelter after his owner passed away. Upon examination, Dashielle needed quite a bit of medical care for kidneys that were not fully functioning, and a dental to clean his teeth.

Dashielle spent 5 months in the shelter waiting for his new home until he was adopted in October 2020. He spent most of his time at the shelter sleeping or hiding from the other cats, but he did enjoy celebrating Halloween at the shelter!

He is now living in a wonderful home where he gets to wear all the sweaters he wants! Dashielle loves going on walks with his harness, cuddling with his dog siblings, and laying out in the sun. He is a very relaxed happy cat.

Thank you to Dashielle’s adopter for giving this boy a second life in a new home. If you’re interested in adopting a senior pet (over 5-years-old), and you are over the age of 55, we will waive the adoption fee as part of our Senior to Senior program. Senior pets often have a lot of life left in them and will make great companions.