Hunting dogs hound animal shelter

Published 9:09 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

While animal shelters in more urban areas of Hampton Roads struggle with an influx of animals because of the economy or Christmas presents that didn’t work out, Suffolk Animal Control is dealing with a different kind of increase.

“It’s not unusual, this time of year, for hounds and beagles to flood our shelter,” said Animal Control Officer H.J. White, who works at the shelter.

The dogs come to the shelter after hunters abandon them, lose them, or turn them in at the end of hunting season. About 40 percent of the adult dogs currently at the shelter are hounds or beagles.


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White said animal control officers pick up most of the hunting dogs that come in, but some are brought in by hunters. Seven hounds and three beagles were at the shelter on Wednesday, and White said hunting dogs will continue to come in until about mid-March.

Hounds and beagles are used by hunters to track game, and often get lost in the rural areas of the city. Some hunters don’t pay much attention to the animals during the off-season, and sometimes don’t even want them at all, turning them in at the shelter. Some of the dogs at animal control Wednesday were emaciated and aggressive from maltreatment. White said the main problem is education.

“I think if we can make the hunters more responsible, we’ll be in good shape this time of year.”

The good news, White said, is that adoptions increased in 2008, about 2 percent over 2007. Animals turned in stayed about the same. That means that people are becoming more educated about the joys and responsibilities of animal ownership, White said.

“It’s something you should sit down and think about” before getting an animal, he said. Puppies or kittens are cute, but the time and money commitment often is 10 to 20 years at a minimum of about $500 a year for the necessities – food, shelter, veterinarian bills and licensing fees.

“They can be inexpensive,” White said. “You can treat an animal very well, and you don’t have to go glamour.”

However, the commitment is worth it, White said.

“If you’re sad, they can put a smile on your face, and if you’re smiling, they can put a bigger smile on your face.”

For people who might want one of the hounds, beagles or other wonderful dog or cat from Suffolk Animal Control, the Suffolk Humane Society is sponsoring an adoptathon Jan. 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Hydrant, 1528 Holland Road. Adoptable animals will be ready to meet their new families.

A benefit event for the Suffolk Humane Society is coming up Jan. 17 from noon to 5 p.m. at A.J. Gator’s at Chesapeake Square. Five local bands will perform at a chili cook-off, where contestants will compete for best white, red and people’s choice chili. For more information about the event, call 405-3996. For more information about Suffolk Humane Society, visit For more information about Suffolk Animal Control, call 514-7855.