HARVARD — Half of lost dogs found by the town’s animal control are not wearing proper identification, which is problematic for both dog and owner.
Massachusetts state law requires dog owners to have their pet licensed and wearing its tag at all times.
“Many dogs in violation of the rules are running with no ID and state law says they are supposed to wear their license,” said ACO Paul Willard.
Lost dog calls usually happen once a week but detaining a dog is rare.
“Sometimes I know who the dog is because it seems the same dogs go wondering,” Willard said.
When lost dogs are picked up they are brought to the dog pound, which is located on pound keeper Ann Bamford’s farm. It currently houses only one dog.
The dog pound was previously at the Harvard Kennel before being relocated to Bamford’s farm.
“It wasn’t good because you don’t want to house sick dogs with client dogs,” Bamford said.
The town supplied the cement and roofing for the pound and Bamford supplied the fencing. The pound is funded on an as-needed basis.
“It’s a small operation but it’s something that I love doing. All the animals are well supervised,” Bamford said.
Dogs can be housed in the pound to be claimed by owners for up to 10 days. After the 10-day period, they are put up for adoption.
“Adoption cases are rare. I have a 99 percent success rate of getting dogs back to their owners,” Bamford said.
If a dog is rabid or unstable, the town does not adopt them out.
“This particular dog we have in now is too wild to be adoptable,” Willard said. “Every couple of years we put a dog down but it’s very rare.”
The town has never had to euthanize a dog due to not finding it a home.
Residents should make sure their dogs are wearing their licenses and put a phone number on dog tags for identification.
“Even if you have to sharpie identification onto the animals collar, do it,” Bamford said.
When dogs are found wondering, residents should contact either Willard or Bamford and should not try to detain the dog on their own.
“I had someone find a dog once and bring it to Buddy Dog, which ended up taking the owners three days to find it, as opposed to just a few hours if the person had just called us,” Bamford said.
“The biggest advice I can give is to give us a call. We are willing and available to handle dogs that anyone may find,” Bamford said.
The ACO can be reached at 978-456-8291.