Dogtown: Humboldt, we have a problem

Humboldt, we have a problem. There are just too many stray dogs. Each week, more dogs arrive at the shelter. Every weekend, my phone receives a message with some variation on “the shelter is too full; who can you get out?” Monday comes and, hopefully, some dogs are picked up by their owners and some dogs are adopted and the cycle repeats through the week.

Along the way, there are dogs that come in as part of a legal situation, such as an animal cruelty case (think: Mr. Nobody). Those dogs stay in a kind of limbo where they can’t be adopted and they can’t go to their owners and they can’t be helped by rescue until their case is heard and settled. These cases can go on for months (longer if decisions are appealed) and in a shelter where maximum capacity is about 50 dogs, six or eight sitting there indefinitely in kennels can make a big impact on space.

I’m not sure what the solution is, but I sure would be interested in some ideas. A coworker of mine has told me about how San Mateo County implemented a mandatory spay and neuter law some years back and what a difference it made to the numbers of dogs coming into the shelter there. Are there concerned folks who would be interested in working on a project like that for Humboldt? It would take lots of effort and patience but it sure seems like a good place to start.

We at Redwood Pals Rescue feel the pressure every day to help get animals back to their owners, find homes for adoptable dogs and fosters for dogs needing medical care, and a host of other needs that seem to grow exponentially every week. Yes, it is satisfying to see a dog find its forever home, or vaccinate a street dog and know that we are helping keep everyone’s dogs safer, or share some of our donated food with an owner that just needs a little help till the next paycheck.


I am definitely a glass-half-full kind of person and I don’t like to use this space to whine, but I worry that Humboldt County has a problem that is not going to get better without concentrated effort. I don’t think there are a lot of people who would just want to see unwanted animals euthanized every week, judging by the response generated every time that possibility makes it into the news. Again, I would welcome any ideas. Please email me at the address listed below.

In happier news, we participated in a Saturday adoption event hosted by Coldwell-Banker Realty recently with our HSU student volunteers and had a lot of fun! We brought our three chubby puppy boys and they were a big hit with everyone who came in and played with them. Wilbur, Junior and Sparkler are still available at this writing. They are smart and friendly little 3-month-old pittie/cattle dog mixes who were fostered with young children, other dogs and chickens before being old enough to be adoptable. Everyone who has adopted a pup from this litter has been very happy with them. Let’s get these last three into homes of their own!

Whiskey and Moose, also featured in previous columns, also came out and behaved very nicely.

Back at the shelter, we have one of our longer residents, Maverick, waiting on a good home. Maverick is about 2 years old and is identified as an Australian kelpie mix, with possibly some shepherd in there also. Maverick was recently adopted, but his adopter discovered that he was allergic to dogs and had to bring the dog back. He reported that Maverick had been quite the gentleman and had behaved very nicely.

Maverick is housebroken and working on his obedience skills. He came in with no obvious training but has progressed nicely with help from the volunteers. Maverick seems very proud of his nice sit and is learning more skills each day. Volunteers say that he is curious about the world and would make an excellent partner for exploring. He is friendly with other dogs and happy to be around them or to just walk with his person.


Maverick is a nice medium size, probably around 55 lbs., and is neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. He is available at the Humboldt County Animal Shelter, 980 Lycoming Ave. in McKinleyville. More information is available at (707) 840-9132.

Redwood Pals has quite a few dogs available for adoption and is always looking for foster homes for dogs in need. You can see our adoptable dogs on our Redwood Pals Rescue Facebook page or contact us at [email protected] for more information. If you might be interested in exploring the possibility of a spay and neuter ordinance, this would be the email for expressing your interest as well. I am always happy to hear your thoughts and this allows for a slightly longer conversation than I can engage in across the checkout counter at work!



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