By Jenna Babyak SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A small, brown-sugar colored pitbull runs around the floor of Barks and Rec in Cicero. Affectionately called “Little Orphan Annie,” she is only the second lost dog to come here.
Stefanie Heath, President of Cuse Pit Crew, guessed the pup was only about three months old.
“She’s a baby,” she said. “She was just found on the front step of a house, wandering.”
If your dog ever ran away from home, Animal Control probably took it to the Dewitt Animal Hospital. But now they’ll be taking lost–and stray–dogs to Barks and Rec. After more than 25 years, the Dewitt Animal Hospital decided not to renew its contract with the city.
Syracuse Animal Control brought Annie to Barks and Rec. This is where they will be bringing all lost and stray dogs they find–until a new, larger location is built in North Syracuse.
“I think change is always good,” Heath said. “I think that given the new facility that the dogs are going to be living in, it’s going to be kind of like a Taj Mahal of shelters if you will.”
Here dogs will be socialized–and families will be able to come in and meet them.
“All of that is so good for them, because no dog really wants to be in a shelter, it’s tough.”
Heath says there are ways owners can make sure if their dog does run away, they won’t stay in a shelter for long.
“Everyone should be, you know, ideally, putting collars and identification on their dogs.”
She suggests putting microchips into dogs too. That way if they are found on the street, veterinarian offices and shelters can scan the chip and reconnect their dogs with their owners. This can be done at most veterinarian offices.
Owners have a limited amount of time to claim their lost dogs once they end up in a shelter. Heath said if after five days no one comes in to claim her, little Orphan Annie will be placed up for adoption.
Heath says the staff will need all the volunteers they can get once the new location opens this Spring.
“The more volunteers we have, the more dogs will get exercised and walked and socialized and loved on.”