The Bonnie L. Hays Small Animal Shelter is a great place to find your new dog or cat.
The animals that are available for adoption reflect the diversity of the pets in Washington County. We see large dogs and little ones, purebreds and mixed breeds. We have cats of every color and personality. We have many kittens, especially in the summer months, and occasionally have puppies available for adoption.
Many of the animals that come to us are stray animals that are brought in by good Samaritans or by our Animal Control Officers. Others are surrendered by their owners who can no longer care for them. Occasionally, we have animals that were confiscated from owners who abused or neglected them.
We screen our animals for health problems and for behavior issues before placing them up for adoption. Dogs and cats in our care receive appropriate vaccinations, are implanted with a microchip, and are spayed or neutered before going to their new home. Dogs also receive a one-year license. All pets go home with a certificate for a free veterinary examination from veterinarians in Washington County.
We have a constantly changing array of dogs and cats looking for their new homes. The best advice is to come visit us often and meet the animals we have available. If you don’t see the right fit for your household one day, come back a few days later and you just might find your perfect match.
We also take some time to get to know our prospective adopters to make sure we match the right pet with the right home. We’ll ask you questions about your family, such as the ages of children in the household, whether you have a fenced yard, and how you’ll care for the animal. We want to be sure that every animal in our shelter goes to a home that will care for the animal and treasure it for the rest of its life. We want our adopters and the pets to be a happy family for many years to come.
We only place dogs with adopters who will provide indoor homes. Adopters must agree that their dogs will be outdoors only under direct supervision. We do not adopt dogs to families that will leave the dogs outside when the people aren't at home -- even during daylight hours.
Why do we have this policy? As the County division that deals with neighborhood complaints, we know that the vast majority of barking dog complaints are made against animals that are outside while their owners are away. The majority of the hundreds of stray dogs that come to us every year escaped from yards when their owners are away from home. Our Animal Services Officers pick up lost dogs every day that have climbed over fences, dug underneath fences, and even learned to open fence gates. Sadly, almost all the deceased or critically injured dogs our officers pick up on the roads are also canine "escape artists." We have seen what happens to people's pets when they are left behind even in what seems to be a very securely-fenced yard.
We encourage cats to be indoors-only. We receive nearly 1,000 stray cats a year at our shelter. Almost every one of them started out as a family pet but was lost along the way. We also have the sad job of picking up deceased cats that have been hit by cars or killed by predators. It is estimated that the average life span for an indoor cat is typically 14 years or more, while the average life span of an outdoor cat is about 3 years. If you are looking for a barn cat, we may be able to match you with a cat that has come to us with an outdoors-only background. Otherwise, we ask that cats and kittens come to your home and stay inside-only for at least a few weeks. This gives the cat time to bond with you and learn that the new place is "home." It also gives kittens time to develop enough size and weight to be safer in the outdoors. We encourage all cat adopters to strongly consider keeping their cats as indoor-only animals.