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New shelter guidelines ensure compatible matches

Recorder Chris Curtis
Small dogs greet a visitor to the 12-town dog shelter opened this spring in Turners Falls by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

Recorder Chris Curtis Small dogs greet a visitor to the 12-town dog shelter opened this spring in Turners Falls by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

TURNERS FALLS — The Franklin County sheriff’s Regional Dog Control and Adoption Center takes in primarily strays and runaways, which on the eighth day of impoundment become the property of the shelter and have a chance at new homes.

Not just any new home, however.

The shelter has an application and screening process to ensure adopter and adoptee are compatible, with good homes for the animals the primary objective.

For instance, shelter director Leslee Colucci said they aren’t sticklers about the seven-day period to reclaim lost dogs under state law and will happily return pets in cases such as those where a family pet runs off while the owners are on vacation.

For those looking for a lost pet or a new addition to the family, the shelter is located at the end of Sandy Lane off Turnpike Road, with office hours roughly 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, and a volunteer is always nearby to walk and feed the animals at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The shelter doesn’t yet have a website, so the canine selection must be browsed in person.

A new feature of The Recorder, Pet of the Week, features one dog each Saturday, to provide a sampling of the animals that are available.

Colucci said the shelter also maintains a contact list of people to alert if a dog shows up that might meet their particular needs.

The application and screening process begins with a visit to the shelter. Colucci recommends calling 413-676-9182 to make an appointment.

If a potential pet is found, Colucci asks that the would-be adopter bring in all members of the family, as well as any other dogs.

“The big thing is having them come here and see how they interact, that’s the important thing,” Colucci said, although the shelter also consults references, and veterinarians are included in the application.

In the shelter’s brief existence — it opened quietly in May and officially in October — Colucci said they have already had to deny people dogs that didn’t fit their family.

Colucci said that a member of the family might be scared of the dog, for example, an emotion that dogs can react to, or the dog may be larger and more energetic than the potential owners seem able to handle.

If a match is made, the adoption fee is $150, including vaccinations and all necessary clipping, snipping or similar operations to ensure all dogs leave for their new homes spayed or neutered.

Owners collecting their pets before the seven-day deadline are also charged a fee and required to license and vaccinate the dogs if they have not done so already.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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