Belfield wants to expand dog poundThe dog days of summer have come and gone, but now Belfield is trying to put an end to the stray dog days.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
The dog days of summer have come and gone, but now Belfield is trying to put an end to the stray dog days.
Belfield City Council members are looking to expand the dog pound to accommodate an increase in the number of unlicensed pets roaming the area.
“We have a high number of dog calls and stray dogs recently that people left or are not claiming,” Belfield Police Chief Joe Schmidt said. “We think they (dogs) are coming from out of town, people traveling through and dropping them off or people living in campers letting them run loose and we just don’t know who they belong to.”
The pound is located in a city shop and is consistently at capacity, Schmidt said.
Richard Schuhrke, a Belfield resident with an animal control background, has been helping the police department catch the wandering canines.
“It is an everyday occurrence now,” Schuhrke said, adding that there’s an average of four to six dogs each day that could be taken in. “That is mainly from the influx from the oil field. We have town people who look for them or usually call or something, but these people seem to just let them run.”
The council members are considering hiring Schuhrke as the designated dog catcher. He estimated that he would charge $20 per hour.
The city must hold the animals for seven days, according to ordinance, Schmidt said, but after that they are placed with host caretakers through networking with Pet Project.
“Since I have been chief we haven’t put any down, and we don’t plan to,” Schmidt said. “We have found homes for them.”
Possible locations for the new pound have not been found, Schmidt said. If more animals keep coming in, they may also be taken to Oreo’s Animal Rescue in Dickinson, he said.
Oreo’s animal handler Jean Hofer said that a bigger shelter might help, but the problem stems from irresponsible pet owners.
She suggested having pets spayed or neutered and licensing all animals so they can be returned to rightful owners.
“Animals unconditionally love, and humans need to start picking up the pace and loving back,” she said. “It needs to go back to good ownership.”