Cincinnati Animal Care says intakes up 40% in past six months
Something is happening with the way animals are treated in Hamilton County.
Contributions of animals to Cincinnati Pet Carethe organization that provides animal control services to Hamilton County, has grown 40% in the past six months, officials said.
From January 1 to March 10 of last year, two people were charged in the county under Ohio’s animal cruelty laws. During the same period this year, seven people were charged, according to court records.
Radiation may explain some of the difference, but the organization says animal control calls, intakes and cruelty cases are all on the rise. But those on the ground struggle to understand why.
More strays are a mystery, but rise in abandoned dogs may be linked to evictions
last May, USA TODAY reported that more people wanted dogs during the pandemic and some realized they couldn’t care for them, leading to an influx into animal sheltersbut a lot has changed in a year.
Ray Anderson is the media and communications manager for CARE Humane Society, which took over the county’s animal shelter and control operations in 2020. He said the recent increase comes on top of a 70% increase between 2019 and 2020.
Anderson said that in the majority of cases, it’s impossible to know why this happens.
“When a dog is picked up by the dog sitter or a good Samaritan finds a loose dog and brings it to us, unfortunately the dog can’t tell us why it’s here,” Anderson said.
Last year, about 84% of the 5,262 animals taken in by shelters were strays purchased by county dog sitters or good Samaritans, Anderson said. The rest, less than 1,000, were returned by their owners.
In surrender cases, Anderson said, “By far the #1 reason someone brings their dog is the lack of affordable pet-friendly housing.”
He said evictions contribute to this problem.
Cincinnati Animal Care also offers repatriation assistance. If there is time, they will help find another place to go for an animal.
But Anderson said there’s no way of knowing why so many stray animals are being brought in.
“I wish we had done that because then that would be a problem that maybe we could work on solving,” he said. “Even if it’s something like ‘I can’t afford my dog,’ we can give you dog food. We always encourage the community to contact us before despair.”
Help available for owners who are struggling to keep their pets
Anderson said the agency has a number of different ways to help homeowners.
As for animal cruelty cases, Care did not want to discuss open cases due to the risk of compromising investigations. Court documents also offer few details about the cases other than to say the animals were neglected or abused.
In one case, the documents said evidence of abuse had been found during a “veterinary autopsy”. In another case, a man is accused of giving amphetamines to a capuchin monkey.
Animal cruelty may not increase and may simply be more reported. Anderson said now that more people are working from home, residents can see incidents happening and report their neighbors.
“We are following every lead,” he said.
Anderson encouraged people who have lost their pets to check with the shelter to see if it’s there, and for those who have pets at the shelter to get them back.
He also recommends making sure pets are spayed or neutered, microchipped and allowed. In Ohio, dog licenses are required by law. Cincinnati Animal CARE has licenses available.