'Dog days of summer' for Shelton Animal Control
There’s no such thing as summer break for Shelton Animal Control.
Longer, warmer days tend to mean more human-animal interaction, leading to calls that range from the typical — such as a loose dog — to the more unusual, like a report of a baby dolphin in distress that turned out to be a large, spawning carp.
In addition to responding to animal-related calls around the city, Animal Control oversees the Shelton Animal Shelter and is contracted to provide animal control for the City of Derby.
“We helped pull a baby deer from a pool recently,” Animal Control Supervisor Leon Sylvester said of summer calls. “We also had that owl stuck in a volleyball net.”
One of the most common calls this time of year come from concerned residents who see a dog left in a hot, enclosed car.
“Please call us and don’t smash the window yourself,” Sylvester said to those would-be Good Samaritans.
Officers respond quickly to calls involving dogs in hot cars and will help the animal, if needed, Sylvester said. Dogs in a hot car can become more riled up by onlookers, leading to a more dangerous health situation for the animal, according to the Animal Control supervisor.
“If we didn’t respond as fast as we do, we would probably have one to two smashed windows a week,” he said. “Most people are emotional about animals which is both a good and a bad thing in some cases.”
Animal Control has seen incidents where a concerned citizen smashed a window to free a dog, only to find out the car air conditioning was on and the dog was fine.
“We appreciate people’s passion but when it comes to those situations, or to a stray dog or animal, call us,” he said.
Trying to pick up stray animals can be dangerous for the person and detrimental to the animal
“We are all rabies-vaccinated,” Sylvester said of his officers. “We can be scratched or bitten.”
If residents are unaware of the very real danger rabies poses, he jokes they should watch the movie Cujo.
“It’s an exaggeration but not much of one,” he said.
In addition, if a resident is attacked by a stray animal, the animal will have to be quarantined for 60 days.
Under Sylvester’s leadership, the Shelton Animal Shelter has been averaging roughly 200 pet adoptions a year. In 2017, the shelter reported 212.
Last week, only seven dogs were staying in the shelter kennels, but that number can rise dramatically quite quickly, Sylvester said. Of the seven, not all were available for adoption. Some have already found interested families, others are being held for a resident and a few may be available for adoption in the future.
The city shelter takes in cats but only those that show clear signs of being a pet and comfortable with humans. Currently, some of those cats and a pair of kitten brothers are available for adoption.
Sylvester is proud of the number of adoptions and attributes it to his staff working so closely with each animal and the potential adopters.
“When someone comes in we really ask what they are looking for,” he said. “We also let people do sleepovers, try a test run. We want to make sure it’s a fit.”
“There is someone for every animal,” Sylvester said.
To find out more about Shelton Animal Control and the Shelton Animal Shelter, visit cityofshelton.org/animal-control or call 203-924-2501.
You can follow the Shelton Animal Shelter’s latest news and updates on animal adoptions on the shelter’s Facebook page.