Yesterday, Lucas County (OH) Dog Warden Julie Lyle announced that the county had received a $38,400 grant from PetSmart Charities to help them partner with Humane Ohio and offer very low cost spay/neuter services for pit bull type dogs. With the "Fix-a-bull" program, up to 500 dogs can be altered for $5 and be microchiped so dogs can more easily be returned to their owners.
The program is in response to continuingly large numbers of 'pit bull type' dogs making their way into the shelter in Lucas County and the shelter's commitment to lowering kill rates. Lyle estimates that about 40% of the dogs taken in by the dog warden's office are 'pit bulls' or 'pit bull mixes' -- and only 11% are returned to their owners.
Lyle has continually worked to make improvements in Toledo, first by helping get the shelter policy changed to allow pit bull type dogs to not have to be killed at the shelter, and then removing the city's breed-specific law.
Lyle's changes have increased the number of dogs saved at the Lucas County Shelter.
In 2010, 1,544 dogs were killed at the city pound -- down 21% from the 1,951 killed in 2009 and 38% from the 2,483 killed in 2008 - Skeldon's last complete year as Dog Warden (some programs put in place in late 2009 afer Skeldon resigned and because of public pressure helped increase adoptions at the very end of 2009).
Much of the credit goes to improved relations with the Toledo Area Humane Society which accepted more than twice the number of transfers in 2010 as they did in 2009.
Lyle continues to make improvements to the old-school catch and kill philosophy of her predecesor -- and the dogs are becoming much better off because of it. There is a lot of work to be done, and rebuilding relationships with owners of 'pit bull' type dogs will take awhile after years of being targeted by Skeldon and even having a financial incentive for Skeldon to confiscate and kill their dogs.
But working with the rescues in the community, making a good effort to be compassionate, and working WITH 'pit bull' owners instead of against them, are all great steps toward a better community for animals in Toledo.