STARK COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - Kennels are full at the Stark County Dog Pound and the dog warden fears they might have to euthanize a dog due to overcrowding if the trend continues.
It'd be the first dog put down because of space issues in at least five years. What makes the situation even more troubling, is the dog warden expects the problem to get worse as the summer goes on.
"He came in as a stray no one's ever come for him," said Stark County Dog Warden Jon Barber.
Saving dogs off the streets is what Barber and his co-workers do every day. Too often, the dog's owners never come to get them.
"I didn't take this job because I wanted to kill animals. This is the last thing we want to do," Barber said.
Sadly, Barber fears he might soon have to put down a down because the shelter is running out of space. Barber said he has never euthanized a dog because of overcrowding, but he's never seen the shelter in this kind of shape.
"This time right now is probably the most critical it's been in the five years that I've been here," he said.
Dogs are coming through the front door faster than they're going out. Barber said it's that way at shelters everywhere, which makes it even more difficult to get dogs out of the pound.
Currently, there's kennel space for the smaller ones, but Barber said they can barely fit the more than two dozen bigger dogs they desperately want to save. He blames irresponsible pet owners and backyard breeders.
"It breaks me heart to do this, it really does," he said.
Another problem that doesn't help with space at the shelter is the fact they always have to leave at least a kennel or two open for the bigger dogs because the warden brings them in every single day off the streets.
"They brought in several today, so everyday we're picking them up," Barber said.
Some dogs are strays and many don't have collars or microchips. The dogs are forced to stay at the pound and sit in a kennel around the clock.
"For 23 1/2 hours or more they're stuck in that cage. It's just not a good place," Barber said.
The Stark County Dog Warden is a place that will just get worse if this trend continues. Dogs brought to the pound don't deserve to die, they deserve to be adopted and taken to a loving home.