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County seeks new kennel operator

Preparing request for proposal


by: HOLLY M. GILL - The Jefferson County Kennels, on Grizzly Road, are open Friday through Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Since the resignation of the dog control officer in July, Jefferson County has been considering a change in the operation of the county kennels.

In October, the county will ask for proposals to operate the kennels. "The operator would have free rent," said County Administrator Jeff Rasmussen, adding that there would be strict controls ensuring that the operator would have outdoor kennels available.

"We're looking for an organization that can provide the same level of service to the public, and care of the animals that the county is currently providing," said Rasmussen, who expects to have a request for proposal ready for the commission's Oct. 9 meeting. Once the language of the request is approved, the county will advertise and potentially award a contract at the commission's Nov. 6 meeting.

The county's facility consists of 26 covered, outdoor kennels and nine indoor kennels, which handle about 600 dogs each year.

From July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012, the kennels accepted 466 strays and 133 owner-released dogs. Of those 599 dogs, 283 were adopted, 134 were returned to their owners, 27 were euthanized, and 140 were transferred to another facility.

Steve Drynan, of Madras, the director of the Humane Society of the Ochocos in Prineville, and his wife, Jerilee, who teaches at the Juniper Junction Relief Nursery, hope to respond to the request for proposal. The pair formed the nonprofit Central Oregon Animal Friends group when they moved to Madras, and have continued to volunteer at, and raise money for, the kennels.

Before cold weather sets in, he said, "We're raising money for electricity for the individual kennels, heated dog beds and heated bowls — about $6,500 for all of it."

For people who would like to contribute, Drynan suggested that they drop off redeemable bottles and cans in the trailer parked at Black Bear Diner. Owners Joe and Nancy Davis have donated the use of the trailer, which is parked on the Fifth Street side of the business.

Drynan has talked to county officials and would like to see Central Oregon Animal Friends operating the kennels.

"We definitely want to see that go to a nonprofit-run Humane Society," he said. "We love animals and we want to do the best we can for them; there's a lot of strays that need homes. Our job is to make a dent in that population."

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Volunteer Marlene Johansen has a soft spot for 'Max,' a pit bull, who has been at the kennels for the past year.Kennel operator Heather Layton is currently the only full-time employee since the dog control officer resigned, but the county also employs a deputy from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office for part-time enforcement, and a part-time person to help with cleaning the facility.

Last year, the county took in $20,122 in dog license fees, $38,692 in adoption fees, and $6,065 in dog pound fees. The total budget of $131,600 includes $53,700 from the county general fund to supplement revenue.

Typically, the kennels house about 20 dogs — some strays, some forfeited by their owners, some picked up by police. On Tuesday, that number was 15, with all listed and pictured on Petfinder at www.petfinder.com/shelters/OR13.html.

"During puppy season, we can do up to 10 adoptions a week," said Layton. "We average about five adoptions."

Although most dogs only spend two weeks at the kennels, there are two that have been there for a year, and one dog that lives there full time.

Cherokee, a male Maremma sheepdog, has his own indoor kennel, where he earns his board and keep. "He socializes dogs that are really shy," said Layton. "We put them in there with them, and he teaches them how to be a dog."

Two cats, Smudge and Eddy, who was born with a deformed front paw, also oversee the indoor kennel, and socialize with visitors to the facility, which is open Friday through Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Volunteers important asset

by: HOLLY M. GILL - Heather Layton, right, prepares a vaccination for a puppy that has just arrived at the Jefferson County Kennels on Friday. Volunteer Marlene Johansen, of Bend, holds the puppy while Smudge, a resident cat, keeps an eye on other dogs.Volunteers are an important asset at the kennels. Layton said there are currently about three regulars from Jefferson County, and about 10 from Deschutes County.

"We walk the dogs; we do whatever Heather asks us to do," said volunteer Marlene Johansen, of Bend, who recently adopted a female pit bull from the kennels, and is hoping that another of her favorites — a friendly male pit bull named Max — will soon find a home.

"There seems to be a steady supply of them," she said, referring to the pit bull breed. "The ones I've met here have all been very nice dogs."

The dogs are also featured on a Facebook page, under the name Jefferson County Kennels, which Layton maintains. Those who want to adopt will pay fees ranging from $35-$300, depending on whether the dog has to be spayed or neutered; all dogs, except young puppies, must be spayed or neutered when they leave the shelter or within a short time.

Dog owners can pay for required dog licenses — $1 per month for a spayed or neutered dog ($12 annually), or $2.30 per month for an unaltered dog ($28 annually) — at the County Clerk's Office, or at the kennels.

Steady stream of dogs

The kennels accept dogs from all over the county, including Warm Springs, which has an ongoing feral and stray dog problem.

Nancy Collins, tribal sanitarian, said she has been taking dogs to the kennels, or to facilities in Portland for the past 22 years. During that time, she estimated that she had transported about 4,500 stray dogs.

"We have a huge dog problem there," said Collins. "Some are feral, but most are strays."

"I've brought in 20 a month sometimes," she said. "Before the kennels were here, I took them all the way to Portland."

On Friday, Collins brought in a young female with three puppies, all from Warm Springs, and Layton set about vaccinating the dogs for the parvo virus and kennel cough.

Collins said that Warm Springs residents can get their dogs vaccinated at quarterly clinics; the next clinic is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 12, from 2-4 p.m. at Warm Springs Fire and Safety, and costs $15.

Warm Springs residents can get their pets spayed for $15, or neutered for $10, thanks to supplemental funding from the tribes' Environmental Health Program.

Volunteer or donate

The county intends to decide the future of the county kennels next month, but whomever takes over the program, kennel operators can always use assistance.

Those who would like to help out at the Jefferson County Kennels can volunteer their time, or donate items such as dog food, toys, snacks, blankets and bleach. "We love donations," said Layton.



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