MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Dog Shelter is officially a mandatory spay and neuter facility.
The Richland County Board of Commissioners, other elected officials and shelter volunteers recognized the change with a press conference Tuesday, held directly before a mobile veterinary hospital arrived to perform its first procedures for the shelter.
“We can take it to areas that are in need, that may not necessarily need something every day, but needs someone to come in and do a high volume (of pet sterilizations) at a time,” said veterinarian and owner of the traveling hospital, Michelle Gonzalez.
The Rascal Unit of Dublin typically performs between 30 and 50 procedures per day at locations primarily in the northeast, central and southern portions of Ohio.
Since opening 13 years ago, Gonzalez estimates Rascal Unit has expanded its services into more than 30 counties.
“Shelters without a spay and neuter policy create their own problem,” Gonzalez said. “They’ll adopt out one dog, and then get three or four back, maybe even six or seven.”
She hears positive feedback regularly from other Ohio shelters that have made pet sterilizations mandatory at their facilities.
“They say they’re picking up less dogs on the streets,” she said.
With the mandatory spay and neutering policy in place, the cost to adopt a dog from the Richland County Dog Shelter is $199. This includes a 2019 dog license for $18, a microchip for $40, vaccinations for $35, spay or neuter procedures for $61 and an adoption fee of $45.
“This is a real bargain,” Commissioner Marilyn John said.
The shelter’s dog warden, Dane Howard, hopes to focus on offering the procedures to the shelter’s current dogs and recently adopted dogs. But eventually, he’d like to allow for the public to bring their pets for a low cost.
The price would depend on the dog’s size. It’d likely be $60 to $70 for an average dog, plus an additional $10 fee.
Want to volunteer?
The Richland County Dog Shelter will be collecting names of potential volunteers all day Tuesday.
“There’s lots of things that can be done to help the dogs while they stay with us,” John said.
She then presented a letter of commendation to longtime volunteer, Susan Kochheiser on behalf of the commissioners. Tony Vero and Darrell Banks were also in attendance.
John started her presentation by asking Kochheiser how long she’d been volunteering at the shelter.
“Ten years?” Kochheiser said.
“Actually it’s 11 years ...(She) volunteers every day, rain or shine, to come out and walk the dogs and do anything that is needed,” John said.
The letter thanked Kochheiser for her volunteer efforts and called her dedication “admirable.” According to the letter, the staff at the shelter told commissioners they “couldn’t do this without Susan.”
If interested in volunteering at the shelter, individuals can call 419-774-5892 or stop by 810 N. Home Rd. in Mansfield.
Could you donate?
In addition to its new mandatory spay and neuter policy, the Richland County Dog Shelter operates as a “no-kill” facility.
Because of this, Howard explained, donations are crucial for the shelter’s future.
At Tuesday’s press conference, a Shelby resident and the owner of Charlie’s Body Shop, Charlie Keller presented the shelter with a $1,200 check.
He raised the money by making small metal dogs from spark plugs and scrap metal and sold them for donations. People could give whatever amount they’d like. He sold about 150 of the dogs, called “Sparkys” to raise the money.
Ready to adopt a dog?
If interested in welcoming a dog into your home, stop by the shelter, located at 810 N. Home Rd. in Mansfield or view available dogs online here.