the portage county dog warden might have your new best friend 


photo courtesy of the portage county dog warden

When it comes to finding a dog, there are many routes you can take. While you may choose to shop from a breeder for that pure-bred labradoodle you’ve always wanted, you could also choose to adopt. Some breeders operate “puppy mills”; a factory-style breeding facility that puts profits above the welfare of the dogs. These facilities often have dogs living in unfair conditions with improper care. With that being said, the Portage County Dog Warden is a great local place to adopt a dog. 


David McIntyre, chief of the warden, has been actively involved with the shelter for 15 years alongside kennel manager, Rita Shaffer. During their careers, they’ve helped rescue dogs and bring them to new homes. 


According to McIntyre, most of the kennel dogs are strays, meaning they were found homeless with no signs of ownership. Other dogs that are “dumped” are left to find new homes. A first-degree misdemeanor of animal cruelty in Ohio can result in a $1,000 fine with up to 90 days of imprisonment. 


There are many consequences caused by dog dumping. Besides being thirsty and hungry, these animals may also be exposed to extreme weather conditions and predators. In the absence of veterinary care, shelter and food, fatality is inevitable. Unneutered animals dumped on the street also contribute to the already existing issue of stray animal overpopulation. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, shelters and animal welfare organizations have been financially struggling to stay afloat as a result of increased dog dumping. The financial crisis caused by the pandemic resulted in some owners being unable to afford their pets, and some chose to abandon them. 


It has become more difficult for these organizations to care for the influx of animals since they usually receive no government funding and rely on donations. 


If you are no longer able to care for your pet properly, there are safer ways to pass them along to a new home. 


“Taking them [pets] to a rescue would be the best route to take,” McIntyre said. 


Animal rescues, like the Portage County Dog Warden, are dedicated to rehabilitating and rehoming neglected animals with dedicated volunteers. A notable one to mention is Paws & Prayers Pet Rescue which serves Northeast Ohio. 

At the Portage County Dog Warden, “we typically have anywhere from 30 to 50 dogs at a time,” said Shaffer. 


Below are just a few of the many adorable dogs that are currently looking for forever homes. 


photo courtesy of the portage county dog warden


photo courtesy of the portage county dog warden


photo courtesy of the portage county dog warden


photo courtesy of the portage county dog warden


If you’re looking for a new four-legged friend, consider supporting the Portage County Dog Warden and give these dogs another chance at a loving home. You can view the kennel Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. To adopt, all you have to pay is the $97 adoption fee which includes a license, all vaccinations and a spay/neuter. 


“We definitely do not make any money on an adoption, but we try to price it to where we can get the dog out to a new home,” said McIntyre. “The fewer dogs we have here, the happier we are.” 

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