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Humane Society to consider policies on aggressive dogs
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MONROE - What to do about aggressive dogs and how to protect the public are two things the Green County Humane Society wants to decide.

At its February meeting, the board created a task force to look at how the shelter should handle aggressive dogs. Board member Mick McClain was asked to lead the group.

McClain said the shelter needs two policies to specifically say what will be done with aggressive dogs at the shelter and with the public.

"If we have an aggressive dog at the shelter, the employees and volunteers need to know how to handle it," McClain said. "They need to have procedures in place."

McClain said the public also needs to be aware of a dog that could be aggressive and potential adopters need to be told if a dog has a history of biting or nipping and in what context the incident took place.

"If we have a dog that nipped at a child who pulled his tail, we need to have a record of that," McClain said. "That dog wouldn't be right for a couple with small children but would be OK for an older couple."

A history of the animal is beneficial for the shelter, as well as anyone who comes to the shelter to adopt an animal, he said.

In a letter to The Monroe Times published today, the board said it takes seriously its responsibility "to promote responsible pet ownership and protect the health and safety of all animals in our charge, our staff, visitors to the shelter and the community at large."

Board President Paul Barrett said it just makes sense to have an aggressive dog policy.

"It's part of being a responsible board," Barrett said.

The board won't make a blanket policy for specific breeds of animals, nor has the board changed its no-kill status.

"No-kill, as defined by animal welfare organizations, means we will not euthanize animals because of lack of space. We do not, and will not, put animals down simply because we don't have room available," the board said in its letter.

McClain said the board will try to place aggressive animals with animal rescue organizations that have experience dealing with aggressive dogs.

The task force includes shelter manager Tonya Kelly, board member Yvonne Schutte, Jared Kelly, and local veterinarians Amy Hagen and Lisa Holcomb.

McClain said Tonya Kelly, Jared Kelly and Schutte will work on an internal policy regarding aggressive dogs, and he, Hagen and Holcomb will work on the public policy for aggressive dogs. The public policy will be posted on the shelter's Web site, McClain said.

The task force begins its work March 16, he said.