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Lost at the Middlesex Animal Shelter

by Tom Chillemi

Animal Control Officer Ricky Warren with “Lovable Lucy” in front of the Middlesex Animal Control Shelter at Cooks Corner.  (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

Many owners of missing pets don’t claim their animals, said Middlesex Animal Control Officer Ricky Warren.

Warren said he has picked up dogs with collars, which means they had a home. However, without tags he has no way of finding the owner.

Tragically, some owners apparently do not want their dogs, he said. “It’s a problem that’s been steadily increasing through the years,” said Warren. “We get a nice dog with a collar and no one ever calls or comes by for them.”

Through August 4, Middlesex Animal Control has taken in 225 dogs this year at the county shelter on Route 33 at Cooks Corner (behind old Rappahannock Elementary School next to the Puller Center) and only 35 were reclaimed by their owners.

Of the 225 dogs taken in, four had been seized due to a legal issue, and 21, mostly puppies, were given up for adoption. The shelter has found adoptive homes for 17 adult dogs.

Another 124 dogs were sent to another facility, including the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society, or the Pet Smart program that sends them to northern states that have strict spaying and neutering programs.

About 35 dogs were humanely euthanized, said Warren, noting that about a quarter of those picked up were injured.

The Middlesex Shelter can keep only about 25 dogs, for a limited time.

Warren said there has been a nationwide increase in pets that are given up for adoption or just abandoned. This is due, in part, to increased home foreclosures and a faltering economy. “People are just letting their dogs go because they can’t afford to feed them,” he said.

Due to the large number of strays, Warren advises residents that have an unwanted animal to take it to the Gloucester-Mathews Humane Society off Route 14 in Gloucester, or call 693-5520 “They have a better chance of getting adopted there,” he said.

Warren said prospective dog owners are invited to come to the Middlesex shelter. “If you lose a dog, come by and look. Most are mixed breeds and it’s often hard to tell what they look like from a verbal description.”

Warren advises pet owners to take a good photo of their pets in case they are ever lost.

Currently, the county shelter at Cooks Corner has for adoption a “sweet” shepherd-Rotweiller mix, a couple of hound mixes “that don’t act like hounds,” a docile walker hound, a shy beagle and a blind Staffordshire bull terrier.

The need to spay and neuter has never been more important and the Animal Resource Foundation’s Spay/Neuter Clinic at the White Marsh Shopping Center at Hayes in Gloucester County offers these services at reasonable prices, said Warren. The cost to spay or neuter are as follows: Male dogs, $55; female dogs, $65; male cats $35; and female cats, $55. Visit for more information.

Over 9,000 dogs are euthanized every year on the Lower Peninsula, Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

To reach Warren, call the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office dispatcher at 758-2779.

The Middlesex shelter hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. by appointment only, because the officer may be on a call.

The bottom line

Before you get a dog, ask yourself:

  • Do you have time for it?
  • Are you prepared for the cost?
  • Is the pet right for your lifestyle?
  • Can you make a long term commitment?

Recommendations from the Purina Adoption Drive.

posted 08.07.2008

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