Jackson County Dog Warden Deb Fout recently released her department’s statistics for 2020, which is highlighted by a 98-percent live-release rate.

Throughout the entirety of last year, Fout and her employees brought in 112 dogs, picked up 346, had 308 dogs surrendered by their respective owners and had one dog abandoned outside of the pound, which is located at 248 Reservoir Road in Jackson. This equates to a total of 772 dogs making their way into the facility in 2020.

Conversely, a total of 22 dogs were adopted last year, 135 were returned to their respective owners, 28 were returned via microchips, 40 were returned via dog tags, 525 dogs were rescued, eight were euthanized for medical reasons, four were euthanized due to being aggressive and three died in the pound. In total, 765 dogs made their way out of the pound in 2020.

(For a feature story on one of the Dog Pound’s more heartwarming rescue stories, see page A10 of today’s edition.)

With regard to the three puppies that died in the Jackson County Pound in October of last year, Fout made a notation on the stat sheet explaining that this involved a cruelty case, and that staff members tried to save the animals.

There were a total of four dogs held in quarantine for rabies last year, and employees logged 2,974 phone calls.

Fout posted her department’s 2020 statistics on her personal Facebook page, and within hours of sharing the information, had received quite an outpouring of support from members of the community. Comments like “Absolutely amazing,” “Fantastic job,” “Impressive,” and “thank-yous” galore were continuing to filter in as The Telegram viewed the local dog warden’s social media page.

A major factor in Fout’s and her staff’s ability to have a 98-percent live-release rate is the public’s compliance with dog tags.

“We have worked really hard to get where we are, and things cannot improve without compliance,” said a post on the Jackson County Dog Pound Facebook page from Dec. 7. “The live-release rate has gone from abysmal to around 98 percent. We average about 1,000 dogs through our doors. We want the number to drop. The only way to do that is to get more dogs back home. Wearing a tag does that.”

Ohio law requires dogs to be licensed and the team at the Jackson County Dog Pound does check and write tickets to those in violation. Funds raised via licensing fees are reserved for the dog pound’s operation.

“This is how we function: No tags = no wardens; no wardens = homeless dogs; no wardens = no happy reunions,” the Dec. 7 post states. If you want a staff that can come pick up strays that are bothering you, staff that can handle dog bites, staff that comes out in the middle of the night to get injured dogs the emergency care they need, and staff to crawl through garbage to save puppies that have been abandoned in a house; $14 for each dog pays for these things.”

In light of continuing concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, a number of additional options have been afforded to local dog owners for 2021 dog-tag sales, in an attempt to limit person-to-person contact. Per the request of Fout and Jackson County Auditor Tiffany Ridgeway, the Jackson County Commissioners agreed to extend the sale of dog tags to March 5.

When renewal letters were sent out to Jackson County dog owners recently, a label was included on all envelopes strongly encouraging the utilization of the U.S. Mail or the online option when purchasing dog tags for 2021. Further, the use of two drop boxes -- one located on the Courthouse portico and the other in front of the Board of Elections office -- has been secured as another alternative to in-person transactions.

To renew a license or to purchase a new one online, visit doglicenses.us/OH/Jackson/. A link to this site is also available on the Auditor’s website at jacksonoh-auditor.ddti.net/site-links/dog-license-information/.

Following are some additional points regarding dog tags, courtesy of the Jackson County Dog Pound staff:

* Perks of licensing include getting your dog home faster, proof of ownership and helping to care for lost dogs. It is not uncommon for us to bring your dog home, which is less stressful for the dog.

* License tag numbers can be looked up online, which means that your dog can be returned after hours, too.

* Dogs wearing their tags are held for 14 days. Dogs without a tag are only held three days. After three days, the dog becomes our property and can be sent to rescue or adopted out.

* Buying or renewing your tag before the deadline saves you money. Late fees as well as citations can add up fast.

The Jackson County Dog Pound can be reached at 740-286-7262.