Ohio surveys shelter operations and needs

What's really going on in Ohio shelters?


The research team of Thomas E. Wittum PhD and Linda K. Lord BS sent surveys to 222 entities in three categories: county animal control agencies, humane societies, and municipal animal control agencies. 180 agencies responded although not all answered all the questions.

Six counties Harrison, Pike, Hardin, Union, Clark, and Brown are not represented in the results because no agency returned the surveys.

Each of Ohio's 88 counties is required by law to have an animal control agency. Most counties also have at least one humane society, and many cities have their own animal control division. Some humane societies are independent of animal control agencies, some lease kennel space to the county, and some operate the county's animal control program under contract.

The primary job of city and county animal control agencies is to enforce the state and local dog laws, including licensing, running-at-large, and nuisance ordinances. The primary purpose of humane societies is to provide shelter for animals that have no home or are mistreated.

Although all 220 agencies did not respond to the survey, the team extrapolated numbers from those that did respond to present a picture of the state's animal control problem. Here's what they found.

County animal control agencies handled

Of these numbers,

Humane societies took in

Of these numbers,

Municipal animal control divisions handled

Of these numbers,

The totals for the state were:

The total dispositions for the state were:

Adoptions and reclaims are slightly less than the national figures of 26 percent and 17 percent reported by CSU, and euthanasias are a bit more than five percent higher.


More for the picture


Animal control needs

Although there was some difference between types of agencies, the following needs were considered very important by a majority of those reporting:

The report covers far more detail than included here. It is available from

The OSU College of Veterinary Medicine,
Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine
1900 Coffey Road
Columbus, OH 43210-1092

For more information, call (614) 292-1206.

Norma Bennett Woolf

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