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East Tulsa Site Popular Dog Dump

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There is crime but rarely punishment when it comes to animal

dumping.

And the fact that the area around the A.B. Jewell Water Reservoir

is isolated and lies within close range of three county lines seems

to only exacerbate the problem in East Tulsa.

The intersection at 193rd East Avenue and East 21st Street, feels

the impact of Tulsa, Wagoner and Rogers counties, Tulsa Police

Department Animal Control Officer Paul Jarrett, said.

"A lot of those communities don't have animal control facilities

and rural people come to town to dump their dogs," Jarrett said.

"It used to be the opposite -- people in the city dumped in the

country."

Both Rogers and Wagoner counties do not have an animal control

department, leaving rural and small town residents with few

choices. But authorities agree that dumping an animal is not an

alternative; it is the most cruel choice of all.

For an animal, being dumped leads to a life full of hunger,

disease and a good possibility of becoming road kill. Most of them

don't stand a dog's chance.

Jarrett describes the problem in three words: "Irresponsible pet

ownership."

He said that people wanting to get rid of a dog may be thinking

that a nearby fisherman at the reservoir or a city worker from the

water department will take the dog home.

"Unfortunately, that's not usually the case," Jarrett said.

"People are reluctant to take in stray animals, not knowing their

background or whether or not they've had their shots."

Common reasons for animal abandonment, Jarrett said, is when a

puppy outgrows the children and when there are medical or social

problems that people don't want to deal with in the form of a

veterinarian bill or obedience school.

"Sometimes it's seasonal," Jarrett said. "Since beagles are rabbit

hunters we usually get an increase after rabbit season is over. If

they don't produce, they're not going to feed them -- they'll dump

them."

It is the same for bird dogs once the bird seasons are over. Then

it's on to setters and pointers, Jarrett said.

"Most of the hunters won't do that, but some do," Jarrett said.

"And it's so easy to get another one. Every weekend you see a kid

giving away puppies from a cardboard box -- it's just like they're

furniture and an easy solution when you no longer want them is to

just drive over to the reservoir and dump them."

If you see this happening, mark down the person's license tag

number, Jarrett said. The crime is a misdemeanor punishable by 90

days in prison and a $500 fine, but because there are rarely any

eyewitnesses, Jarrett said that the crime is seldom punished.

Dumping near the reservoir is not unique. People even dump dogs on

church steps Sunday mornings in hopes that members of the

congregation will be interested in taking them.

"What actually happens is they can't take in all the dogs and we

usually get a call Monday morning," he said of church, dog dumping.

Pet stores are another common dumping site, he said.

"Pet stores won't even take them in the building, and I understand

that because they don't know what diseases they might have," he

said.

Most of the dogs picked up were once someone's pet and not feral

dogs, the ones that revert back to a wild state. They don't survive

long enough for that, Jarrett said.

"You can't just throw a domestic house cat into the wild thinking

they'll live on field mice," Jarrett said. "Domestic animals can't

survive on their own."

Oddly enough, people take food and water to the roadside at 193rd

East Avenue & Garnett Road. A 50-pound bag of dog food split open

along the road is not an uncommon site.

But to Jarrett it is a contradiction.

"They're kind enough to leave food but cold-hearted enough to just

dump them out," he said. "And really, it's unnecessary. It's just

hard to accept that they had no other place to take (the unwanted

pets.) Most cities have a pick-up service."

The Humane Society in Rogers County will list dogs for adoption,

but with only 10 volunteers holding a limited number of animals at

their homes, they cannot house any more additional dogs at the time

of this report.

"We've been trying to get a shelter for the past eight years and

it seems like there's always roadblocks we can't conquer," said a

Humane Society member, who asked to be identified simply as Mary.

Already keeping eight dogs at her home, she said, "The county has

to want it. Ten individuals can't do it all."

Claremore veterinarian Lesleigh Cash of Hooves, Paws and Claws,

1840 W. Country Club Road, said that dumping is a great problem in

Rogers County, even sometimes at her own business.

"I personally have 11 dogs," she said of those waiting for a home.

"But we will put animals to sleep that are left here."

The only solution to the problem, Cash said, is to spay and neuter.

"Unfortunately, I honestly hear people say they won't do that

because they can get rid of puppies in 15 minutes while standing in

front of a store, and unfortunately most of those homes aren't good

ones."

Cash feels so strongly about sterilization that she refuses to

help her customers find homes for their litters if they will not

have their pets spayed or neutered.

"If you don't want it, you're better off to take it to the Humane

Society to have it euthanized," Cash said. "That sounds pretty

cold, but it's also pretty cold to let them starve to death. Ending

their life might be more humane."

Under the guidelines of the Tulsa city ordinance, the shelter

keeps a domestic animal three days in time for their owner to claim

them. A name tag makes this process easier.

A health screen is performed on the animals who appear to be

adoption candidates. Veterinarians check for Parvo and heartworms,

and if the dog comes out healthy and its disposition checks good,

they may go into the adoption program as space is available.

The majority, however, are euthanized.

According to Larry Briggs, director of the Tulsa Police Department

Animal Control, the department has already exceeded last year's

total of stray and abandoned dogs, taking in more than 7,000 dogs

in the past nine months. Of those, 966 were adopted and 5,381 were

euthanized, plus another 1,093 dogs euthanized from other counties

and surrounding small towns, he said.

Of the adoptions, 733 of them went through the department's

adoption program and 233 were released to various other adoption

programs. Animal Aid and Animal Rescue Foundation are two of the

main organizations the shelter calls upon. There are also

breed-specific groups such as Boxer Rescue and Great Dane Rescue.

Although the Tulsa Animal Control Department does not routinely

take dogs at the shelter, 3031 N. Eerie St., from people living

outside the Tulsa limits, Jarrett said they will.

"We're not going to turn them loose on the street," he said.

But most cities in Rogers and Wagoner counties do not have the

facilities to take in additional animals outside their city limits.

People in the county are usually advised to either put an ad in the

paper for a give-a-way or to have a veterinarian put them to sleep.

There is a form of dumping that's considered proper, but it only

pertains to wild animals. Jarrett shows off the animal compartments

in his truck and reveals a subdued opossum he plans on dumping in a

wilderness area at Mohawk Park.

"We call it release to habitat," Jarrett said.

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