Cumberland Co. Animal Shelter policies questioned

February 7, 2012 5:24:53 AM PST
In a step some say moves toward banning the adoption of certain dog breeds, anyone who wants to adopt a pet from the Cumberland County Animal Control shelter will now have to answer a few questions.

A two page questionnaire for potential owners is at the center of the controversy.

"We have met with some resistance," said Animal Control Director Dr. John Lauby. "People actually getting upset and walking out of the shelter."

Lauby told board members Monday night the questionnaire went into use Feb. 1. Questions include what kind of dog someone is looking for, are there children in the home, who will take care or the dog, and the reason for wanting a dog.

Lauby says the questions are for background information only.

"The intent is to try and find a compatible home for a specific dog," he said. "We are trying to keep a new dog owner, that's never raised a dog, never trained a dog or anything all... what we are trying to do is not get them a dog that could get them into trouble."

In December, hundreds of animal rights activists and rescue groups voiced concern that Lauby was trying to ban specific breeds of dogs, like Rottweilers, pit bulls and chows.

Board members told animal control workers to come up with a new set of adoption rules. Monday night, board members said the questionnaire is part of what they're looking for.

"We need to be more vigilant about the dog going out," said Animal Control Board Chairman Cris Berry-Caban. "We have a responsibility to protect them and we have an obligation to protect the dogs."

Lauby says the questionnaire is not mandatory for adoption.

"If they absolutely insist on a particular breed of dog and they have no background experience in dog handling, we actually have some volunteers that are doing free obedience training in the homes and helping with their dogs," said Lauby.

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