Animal Shelter of the Week: Episode 35 – Pulaski County Animal Shelter

The Pulaski County Animal Shelter takes animal rescue very seriously. They work with their county’s Animal Control Officers to save abused and neglected animals but they don’t stop there. Volunteers and staff do their best to give these animals a second chance at life by hosting adoption events at local businesses and even applying for grants to help their spay and neuter programs in efforts to end overpopulation.


Welcome to the ARPA Animal Shelter of the week podcast where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals. We’re proud to be sponsored by Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal shelter.

Hey, Adam and Charlotte, welcome to the show. Good morning, Rachael. How are you? Yeah, I’m doing great. I’m really excited to have you guys today. You are both from Pulaski County Animal Shelter, located in Kentucky. And I wantto know a little bit more about you guys and then a little bit of the history on Pulaski counties. Why don’t you start us off? Okay. I’m assistant Director. I have been here for eight and 1/2 years. We have grown along tonight, half years, up in here, off with better and hoping to even grow even more. And eventually one of the few years having this shelter and get that fighting. Some of the larger cities appear confetti lacks their teammates, body and culture. So it may have Here is a pretty long time with one specific organisation. And so Adam tell us a little bit about you. How long have you been with Pulaski? I’ve been here more, supporting 2016 bit here a little over three years. When I first took this job over course, I have a degree in criminal justice, so they more or less was looking for the animal control side. But when I took over, the record of animals here really didn’t know what I was doing. So Charlotte and I work really good together. She’s taught me a lot. Like she said, we’re just trying to change vice. This joke actually want to be the leading adoption shelter out of contempt. That’s more or less our goal. We want to get all the animals out. We can. Unfortunately, some we can’t, but we’re learning as we go. I really think that’s cool and I love that. That’s such a big goal for you guys, is to be the leading organisation for adoptions in Kentucky. That’s a huge goal and hopefully have some small winds built into that play on. Otherwise that’s pretty overwhelming, You know, to come in every day and know that that’s such a big goal to reach. So I think that’s really cool. And I love that you guys have a good working relationship and you’re aligned in what you’re looking for. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about the history of Pulaski County and replace their located? We’re located on like Cumberland. So if anyone is familiar with plastic candy and like, it’s where all everybody can scope voting were one of the largest counties in Kentucky, third largest county in Kentucky. And how long is Pulaski County has been around for probably 35 years. I mean, going by the ordinances that we have against the first ordinance will be 87. That’s what I’m kind of going back, you know, trying to get the years There’s really not a lot of history or, I guess, archives on it. I’m sure they had like an animal control officer. But as Faras lock having a truth shelter, they did know. Yes, I want to kind of talk a little bit about what you guys is role. There is Adam as the director and animal control person and Charlotte as the assistant director. Talk to me what Your day today is light there at Pulaski? Well, a soon as I get here in the morning, I make my rounds. I could want it on my doggies. I see what’s coming in over the weekend. If I wasn’t here, then I course checked my e mails and start moving dog that has already got risking complete off our program. Send an afternoon earliest it. I start working on once that’s been here the longest it could go to rescue and start working on a rescue that I guess that’s mainly what I didn’t even when I’m not here, are still on the rest. Yeah, it’s my born star looking policia pay. It’s Monday. Let’s see which ones we can get moved out this week. It’s been here the longest needs to get gone. So my first question is, Tell me what you mean by moved out. You work with other organizations that we work with other rescues we send off out of the United States. And so is that a fairly new program for you guys? Tell me a little bit how that works, because that’s the hot topic these days with organizations is moving animals to save lives and how did that program get started? And how are you finding partners toe work with to send those dogs? When I first started working here, we had a couple rescues that was already working with us. We’ve got a couple of local risky that helps us a whole lot. And they have connections with other rescues, and it takes a village to get a hold. Yeah, definitely a lot of network way. Didn’t have ice laugher started his help tremendously. A sw far is getting our dogs out there to where everybody in the world can see. And a lot of the place looking Sonora dogs, too. They have got stricter neutrals, so eventually these rescues will work with high field shelters, too. Hail pools of their dogs say they’re dolls, States that has, you know, low puppy. And are you in charge of finding those relationships, or do you have a team that work with you guys to kind of make sure that that program continues to grow? We have a couple rescues here that we work with lily and they has made contacts over the years by helping s and helping involves the It just reaches out, which is good that it happens organically. It doesn’t often happen that way. I can tell you based on the other groups that I’ve talked with, really finding those relationships in getting that to grow organically and build those relationships. That’s one of the hardest things we’ve been very fortunate. Like I said, I worked. We seem really great risk use, and I do everything in my power to keep my rescue tacky. They want gold testing or cat testy and stuff like that. We try to get it if they want vaccines before they go in stuff like that, we accommodate our rescues because they’re the Eddie Pieper San that’s saving our dogs. I think it’s great that you’re in tune with what their needs are and you’re flexible with them because each organization reach rescue has their own set of requirements, if you will. But that’s a lot to manage and keep up on. So I can definitely see how that’s a full time job and then some so very cool. Adam, I want to take a few minutes and kind of talk about what you’re doing. There is the director and leading the animal control aspect of this so tell me a little bit about what that looks like for you. Course our animal control. There’s three officers we rotate out every third week. We’ve run 24 7 more or less through the day, we’ll field all the calls that come through the shocker. We take every call Siri’s, whether it is the animal running large abuse neglect eight before 30 will feel the stray animals running at large before 30 to eight. The next morning, we try to only focus on assisting law enforcement and abuse. Neglect case. We just focus on emergency calls only after 4 30 in the following morning, we’ll pick back up and we had a straight all over the night. We’ll get those calls when we come back in the next morning. The law enforcement calls that’s more or less go 300 which is someone has passed away, has an animal in the house when the emergency response team shows up, or the white cases with the animal in the car with someone going the intensity. But we run 3 65 24 seconds. We’re the third largest county in Kentucky, and there’s only three of us running it. It’s definitely a full time job. No, it definitely sounds like it. I like, though, that it’s pretty structured. I think that it sounds like a this point. The community probably knows the 8 to 4 30 then, you know, taking those emergency cases. I love that you guys have a really strong relationship with the law enforcement. Honestly, you guys are the first group that I’ve talked with that has. Animal control is part of it, and so I’m really intrigued by that aspect and buy those relationships. So I want to ask Adam, Is there a common denominator in some of the cases of the calls that you get in your community with us being in Kentucky, the opioid epidemic? There’s a lot of arrests on that, whether it’s buying or selling, We get called up what a bit throughout the night just to pick up the animals. That’s where they came in and made a raid or served a warrant. And you know, there’s animals in the house orders animals like property. You know, when I first started, got a background in criminal Gus. So to make sure myself in the sheriff or the county attorney with all on the same page, and I went and met with all those guys will make sure that to see what they expected of us in more or less when I reach out to them. I guess we started a relationship, but I would say the common denominator we’re probably the opioid epidemic breeds that we take from situations like that. People’s. So what are you guys doing with those? Because I often hear from organizations right, that that is the hardest type of dog Thio save. And so what are you guys doing with that? Are you working with pickle rescues? Specific Lord we do. We work with people, rescues and we work with the rescues that occasionally will take at war. People needs for myself knock on wood. We were pretty much fortunate. We don’t have to euthanize meaty. It will breathe at all for the simple fact that we’re able to either find the doctors for or rescue form. Now grind it. There is one a paging that we give the securing your bread, especially the dogs. That’s probably one of the biggest issues we have with our pick Four people raises their dog, so I want to talk a little bit about the programs that you guys have their at Pulaski it Why don’t you tell me what you guys were doing? And what kind of resource is air available to your community? The Department of Productive Agriculture, Actually that paying their your grant once a year, we applied for that. Last year we got $2000 with the artist or matching. So that was $4000 that we was but towards the spay and neuter program this year. And we’re very blessed to have visible court. And it does. That’s behind us and growing. When did that clinic happen? And when’s the next one? We’ve been doing it every year. We miss one years without being here due to just office change and not getting the great is your. We was actually able to get the 2000 and four star port smashed it usually get it in March, and then we just schedule the vein neuter clinic for then once we get our money, then we advertise and we have people start signing up to get their animals fighting it. How did people find out more information? Is that on your website? or do you posted on Facebook? How do people know about that? For help? We post it in the newspaper, radio pliers, courthouse or yeah, I love that you guys were reaching out and doing that. Education and offering service is for people who need it. I think that’s really cool. What other programs do you guys have? Their class cape? We do the outside options who use volunteers, and we will go out with these businesses. Said a lot of two years ago we had a furniture store that paid for all the adoption in the pits is that we work with. They always give out bags and keep on some stuff for animals that gets it. Offices there, they have to drive for us. Where did they take the nations of food up, which we’ve been very fortunate with that we’ve not had to actually by Dr Three Years over three years? That’s incredible. I’ve never heard that before. A lot of our community that come in and ask what we need more or less puppy food getting food that’s remain need really especially this time of the year of the season getting season. There’s all time you’re getting a phone call or somebody bringing a donation and asked. We started typing up a wish list. That way we can just hand them a piece of paper and saying We accept All donations were very appreciative of all ovations, But this is the atoms that we’re meeting.

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Yeah, I think that’s really, really incredible, especially as an animal shelter. I feel like sometimes people think animal shelters are fully funded by local government. And that’s not often the case is that the case with you guys are you funded way are funded, however, we always in the against the red area. But like I said, I mean, we’re very fortunate to have. I did want to kind of talk about community challenges or organization challenges, if you will. What are some of the things that you guys are either seeing within your organization that you’re struggling with, or maybe some community challenges that you’re trying to address? The Vegas is just the dogs run and at large is one of the and I had a baby fingers, so I want to talk a little bit about both of those the repeat offenders and then the calls that you get Adam for animals that have gotten out. What’s the leading cause of that? Why are you seeing repeat offenders and getting so many calls for animals running at large, I would think just people that doesn’t care. We live in a kind of a rule community. A lot of times they either get home from work or in the morning before they go to work and just let their animal out to use the restroom. And don’t take the responsibility to go out with the animal. Whether they’re tired, they’re getting ready for work. Were getting home fixing supper, something that nature. And and they just let the animal out animal exalts in the neighbor’s yard and the garbage or attacking nerd all. So you know, we go out and try to educate the community. This is something that, yeah, this may happen when you were growing up. This is not happening now. We have laws in place to make everyone of responsible pet owner. We go out, we give him a warning. Second time, we start getting information that consists of named birthday address. In the third time, you guys are going to court. We’re such the court. That way. There’s a paper trail on this and another He was asking about programs we just started last year. We had a lady from one of the middle schools here in the county. She was one of my teachers when I was in middle school, okay, She was bringing students up and we got to focus in on go into the school and doing a span neuter seminar to show them the importance of span ***. That way we could start kids at a younger age to get them to understand the importance of it and try to deter some of the stuff that will happen in the future. So I often hear about educational programs. But I got to tell you, I’ve never heard somebody say specifically that they’re focusing on the importance of Spain neuter. And how is that perceived by the students? Do you find that they’re intrigued by that? Are they asking questions? One year of it, and the kids were soaking it up. We tried to explain to them that male dog and pits smell a female dog up 3 to 4 miles once she comes in heat, right? Once she comes in, heat in your dog has possibility of taking off on being gone. You losing your dog? Come into the animal shelter if you don’t miss and always check the animal shelter first. For some reason, a lot of people doesn’t do that. We need to be reminded that kids are sponges. They really wanna learn and know everything. And if you can start them at a young age, then they take that knowledge home and they’re talking to their parents and they’re talking to their siblings and they’re talking to their friends. And so you kind of get this organic growth that happens if you can get into these schools and start educational programs. I love that. That’s your main focus for an educational program is the spay and neutering. So I think you guys are really starting at a good please. And so I want to take a minute and kind of talk about those volunteers and those programs that you guys have. You know, whether it’s foster home program or how they’re coming in to help with the animals. We have some awesome volunteers. We have a couple of ladies that it’s pretty much single hated site 98% of our cats, and that’s a large number considering the volume. If you didn’t stop the year she works with Cat rescues A. And she has her own group fosters that can foster a home and a litter of kittens until the kids were big enough to go to rescue. The biggest thing is just networking the pictures, networking that hat and finding the right rescue’s. So it is harder to cat’s out rescue. Sure, there’s so few of them and they feel up really fast, definitely. Do you guys have a foster home program as well? The reason We don’t send out Foster’s two homes because they take one of our angel first will be responsible for it. Only if you let it get out of here or something other because they’re being careless or just not being careful. Let’s go to that. We’ve never really done the home by fostering programs all times. When people wants to see the dogs, they want to interact with it all. Does that mean the foster happened to bring the dog up here, which is a convenience to them? If I had someone given it, want to see it today or it shows that today I want to see it well, the dog’s not here with views it. Now you work with Foster’s. Like I said, when our dolls have rescued, they’re going to be moving that to rescue. They just need to go someplace for a few days or a couple weeks until they either get big or my transport. Then once the rescue pulls the dog, then it’s the rescues responsibility to get the animal fixed and keep it say until it does get on transport. So how does that work when you’re working with organizations outside of your county? Are they were lying on your volunteers in your Foster’s? It worked closely with that. L. A great. She’s a risky place. The volunteer plus a transporter. This isn’t cheese last sight. She’s cheap work. That’s ever since I’ve been here. Some rescues require the kids before they go on transport. Sending on he worked with. I got to get a lot of the dog. They go on way. We have a gentleman. He just started a trip three weeks ago. He comes in one day and spends the whole day claiming cats, playing with cats, living on that, whatever we didn’t have to do with the cat room. You used to have this kind of all we first started, we didn’t have the best reputation, and we’ve learned more volunteers in because before it was issue, they wouldn’t like volunteers really coming. But we’ve opened her doors, listens you spend past two years were really up in our doors of all tears. A lot of times, especially animal shelters. There’s this stigma with animal shelters that they’re not transparent. They’re doing things behind closed doors. They don’t want that unity to know. They’re almost ashamed. And I find that the more transparent organisations are, the more support they get from the community. And have you found that that’s true with your organization? That’s right, and he would have done research on the shelter. You could look at many articles in the paper over the past years, and they’re not good already. What was the biggest challenge when you first started? And even before Adam joined you, what were you doing? Thio become more transparent and get the word out in the community because that’s a hard thing to do. Charlotte, What did those first few years look like for you knowing that you had that problem? It was hard being an animal ever like I am. When I first started, we had a very high euthanasia right and one of my drop was he into which dog didn’t make it out. And that was one of the reasons we had such a bad reputation. The animal control officers that was here when I started, they just did in care. They didn’t work with volunteers back then. They get more rescues. Back then, it was a jungle where the dogs off the street like a service that was their job. But when I came in and when they say that I was willing to step up to the plate and start working with more risky start trying to get the recipe what they want. It’s a hard thing to Dio, but I definitely agree to your point, having people who just do a job versus having passionate people like yourself in Adam and his team. Of course, we make a difference. You gotta care. You Yes, you don’t need to be in this line of work. I totally agree with you. And so I love that That has been your mission and your goal since joining. And it sounds like Adam is Benny. Fantastic addition for you guys may have been a great help, and I know we can reach your goals. Eight years I’ve been here. So you had mentioned the high euthanasia rate when you first started Charlotte. And then where you guys at now? We was almost added 90% euthanasia, right when I first started. Wow. And where you guys at today to 33 Cristian. Wow, that’s incredible. And I don’t want this to sound, but there’s always gonna be euthanization with extremely aggressive, dull, extremely sick dogs. And we tried just to focus on that. My thing is, if that dog could live next door to my six year old daughter and I would feel comfortable than that dog’s gonna get out of here, no matter what I mean, that’s way I’ve tried to take this on. That might not be the best way to take it on. I want the community to be 2nd 1st of all, and then secondly, move the animals, get them to a loving home, get into carrying owner and just like I said, safest me else. So let me just make sure I understand. So 90% euthanasia you guys are at 3%. Now that means that you guys are at a 97% live release rate. Is that right? Yeah. Those are great numbers. Tell me what your intake is versus what you’re adopting out. Lever started here. Our intake was anywhere between 3 to 4 years. I’m looking at her shelter manager from January 1st. Does 19 to obviously 2060. Best not team. We’ve had $919 coming in and 596 cats. So it’s a total of 1 515 This is cats and dogs together. Great. We’ve had 1047 transported out. That means they’ve been rescued. We’ve had 278 adoptions inside the camp. I think that’s awesome. I think you guys were doing fabulous work. The numbers are outstanding, and I love the transparency and the programs that you guys have. As we get close to really wrapping this up, I want to talk about two things. One, my favorite part is memorable stories. So I’m hoping that each of you has a story that you want to share that has impacted you in your time in this industry. What? We have to hold off American bulldog Dan. And again, you know, that’s one of the greats who have trouble moving. This is that males Probably unusual that you don’t here from other shelters. The strike. How does 57 days? We’ve got to help them by the seven day and see if there’s no more out there looking for it. Okay, A lot of places. The end of the 57 days, the animals strong. As long as we have that room where you held on to that and more intelligent the rescuer ago. This boy, he was such a also. He didn’t catch a trout with the other dogs. He loved everybody. He was almost our mascot, but he was dead. So we had trouble docking mouth because of that. And because he’s breathing, we hit even great shot several rescues it again. There’s a few being rescued out there, but not me. And then we had a rescue set but started working with prison programs. So they started pulling dogs from shelters, prison program and do training for service dogs. So he’s living in a prison now. Yeah, as pretty much their mascot and has been trying to be a service dog and every. I think that’s pretty awesome. He was here for its eight weeks. We begin here in the mornings and just let him out. He would follow the guys around was awesome. He just wanted to be around people. Yeah, I think that’s pretty special that you guys don’t give up on dogs after that mandatory 5 to 7 days old, you know that you’re constantly networking and talking to people, and eventually you found the right spot for him. And how cool is that? We could not do what we’re doing unless we didn’t have the government behind us there behind us in getting these animals thio forever home. Well, I know they look at it on the political be. If the community is happy with our shelter, there will be happy with them. And we got some in there that really, really cares or are Animals is here in the animal shelter and they want to see a forward. Also, I definitely agree in that That is something really special with you guys, is that you have those relationships in that support. That’s gonna be my take away from this. And I hope that others listening really understand that once they get that support from the right people, it changes everything. World. I completely agree. So we’re actually getting short on time here, But I want to talk about future events for you guys. What do you have coming up that you want people to know about? We start this one program which we choose me to trying. We didn’t play groups now, and this helps our adult to communicate with other doll take. They come in here and they’re in a kennel. Well, that Kentucky its toe on it all. Especially if they come in scared. One gentleman was California. The other gentleman from Florida. We’ve got a group of ladies called our shelter helpers that paid for us to have a freedom pins and a freedom fence is a large area. It’s actually sectioned off into three separate lots to wear weekend. Turner dogs out the blow off. Steve is there being stuck in a kennel all day long? Sure. So these gentlemen came and showed us instead of just letting one dog out player a group of dogs. And before we did the training, it was the first of last month before we done training. If you would have told me we had 12 dogs in one play area without fighting without just cause a problem or last night I was so worried about Let’s get animal shelter. They’re fighting dogs up there. But they came in and showed us that there’s always gonna be one Gregor doll in the pack. Once we’ve configured that, which dog is the greeted? All we put him or her out in the Freedom pants and we bring the other dogs to the fence, introduced them, let them introduce yourself and then turn them out into the face together. The program was called Dogs Plate for Life. It was amazingly, had club dog here, be adults, right and playing. It was enjoyable to get. Concede them front, either scared or stressed situation where a dog for it and saying Full Roscoe, this is another cuts awesome pace. Roscoe company is under street. You live on a change Most of the clock. He was probably about four or five years ago. We got year. He stayed to himself and say, for the back of the run, he wouldn’t give up that date. In time, he would be who’s left Kay. Just stupid. So we have Don’t block that. We go to their victims a little bit each time to read today. Probably come out of jail. He eventually got her where you can post, you know, smell or he’s no. And well, you can get back at that. Then you come up. Well, I guess he didn’t know what it waas to be handed and left. He acted like he had wanted it, but he didn’t know for sure if it was okay again. And he was like that for about three weeks. We’ve been here for three weeks. Cat slowly. Come now the shell starting to come up to the front of the day. In the end, we had this tiny and he just wanted adult that we put out there. And at first it was They didn’t know what you did. He was like a lawsuit. Before he started playing, he started running. And ever since that day, he grew every day. He wanted to be left alone. He wanted to be headed. He wanted to be a part of a group, actually got adopted. And I feel wonderful. The program was put on by the A S E c a. And I think that’s very cool. And I think you’re doing the right things. You’re looking for new, innovative ways to help the animals in your care. And there’s just something really special about that to be able to have that heads up vision, that there’s always more to do to help the animals in your care. So tell me about the pet costume event that you guys have coming up the third, a mule pet costume. We have it at our piece apart and make a big old day of vendors come out and say, Olin, I think 20 some dogs in it last year. We have judges have come out. We’ve had members stops getting Yes, we bring out aboard option. And do you guys post that information on your website? Or is that on Facebook? How did people How about that? I liars out. Very cool. Well, I know that we’ve actually talked a lot today about many, many different things. Is there anything that we may have missed that we wanna bring up before we close this out? I think we’ve pretty much covered everything. Yes, the right questions. Good. Well, I’ve really enjoyed my time talking with you guys and learning how you are operating there at Pulaski County. And I think it’s incredible. So thank you very much for taking the time to connect with me today. You’re so welcome, thank you.

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