The Marshmallow Foundation is, in addition to being an animal shelter, a city pound. What’s the difference, you ask?
While both take in homeless dogs and cats, a pound is compelled to take those animals when brought in by city or county officials. They pay a small amount for the services we offer. Here’s one example of a dog that was brought in this week.
6:30 pm – a dog is brought in as a stray. The dog is logged into the system and assigned a unique ID and a name.
6:35 pm – the dog is scanned for a microchip; a valuable tool in finding its owner, but only if it was registered. Most animals going through the pound/shelter system to be adopted out are microchipped, and the new owner is given the information on how to register. Sadly, most owners never get around to it. In this case, the dog has a microchip, and is registered to a shelter in Northwest Minnesota.
6:55 pm – the one and only employee working at night sends a Facebook group message to other kennel staff and volunteers, along with a picture of the dog and details about where the dog was found.
7:00 pm – the microchip info is sent to a volunteer who happens to live in the Northwest Minnesota area, and she immediately reaches out to the shelter where the chip is registered.
8:03 pm – the shelter in Northwest Minnesota confirms that this was their dog…adopted out in 2010. The immediately attempt to contact the owner.
8:13 pm – the owner is found! She had just moved to the Detroit Lakes area and didn’t know that we were the city pound. She’d been posting lost dog notices on Facebook rummage sale sites to no avail. She tells us that she will be in first thing in the morning with proof of vaccination and license for the dog.
This story had a happy ending; I wish that they all did. Sadly, imagine if the dog had not been microchipped and sat in our pound in quarantine for a week or 10 days. The owner, who couldn’t afford veterinary care for their animal, never got them spayed/neutered, nor did they think they needed rabies shots. So we, as a representative of the city we service, must take the dog to the Vet for its rabies shot before we can legally release the animal. Even if we can get an appointment with short notice, that’s an extra day in the shelter. There’s a $20 boarding charge per day, which barely covers the cost of keeping the dog. And depending on what city brought him in, there could be a fine assessed by the city that we must collect in addition to a license.
So now, with charges over $200, the owner says that they can’t afford to get their dog. They go on Facebook, including public group sites and say that we are holding his dog hostage for the money. They claim that no effort was made to find them right away. Sometimes they even threaten legal action.
Being able to afford an animal doesn’t just mean buying them dog food, just as owning a car doesn’t just mean being able to afford the gas. The workers and volunteers at The Marshmallow Foundation really care about your animal, and really, really, want it to find a good home. That Facebook group message chat chimes all day, every day, sometimes until late into the night.
So please, spay or neuter your pets, microchip them even if you think they’ll never run away, and register that microchip. We’d all cheer for just one day where Facebook remained silent.