According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Almost 1 out of 5 bites becomes infected. Don’t be a victim. 800,000 Americans seek medical attention for dog bites each year; half of which are children. The rate of dog bite-related injuries is highest – nationally – for children ages five to nine years, and men are more likely than women to be bitten by a dog.

It may surprise you to know that over half of dog-bite injuries occur at home with dogs that are familiar to us. Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs at home.

During National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control reminds parents to supervise the interactions between children and dogs. According to shelter spokesperson Jodi Hamilton, “Young children often lack the skills to understand when an animal is uncomfortable or just wants to be left alone, so the key to safety is supervision and education. Giving a child too much responsibility for a pet too early puts them at risk of being bitten.”

Animal Care & Control strongly advocates bite prevention to keep kids safe by providing bite free materials to schools, tour groups and community events.

By teaching children how to properly approach dogs and to ask permission before they pet someone’s dog, animal bites are reduced.

• Be cautious around dogs you don’t know.
• Treat your own pets with respect and gentle handling.
• NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
• Avoid unfamiliar dogs. If a dog approaches to sniff you, stand still. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
• Don’t pet a dog by reaching through a fence.
• Always ask permission before petting someone’s dog.
• Don’t run past a dog. Dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
• Never disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies, sleeping or eating.
• If you are threatened by a dog, remain calm. Don’t scream or yell. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly. Avoid eye contact. Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight. Don’t turn and run.
• If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck. Protect your face.

• Socialize your dog or young puppy, so it feels at ease around people and other animals. Gradually expose your dog to a variety of situations under controlled circumstances; continue that exposure on a regular basis.
• Don’t allow your dog to be in places where it might feel threatened or be teased.
• Attend a dog training class. The basic commands “sit,” “stay,” “off,” and “come” can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of obedience and trust between pets and people.
• Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
• Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
• Keep your dog healthy with yearly vaccinations. How your dog feels directly affects how it behaves.
• Spay or neuter your pet. Altered dogs are less likely to bite.
• Don’t chain your dog. Chaining increases aggression in dogs.

What Should I Do If My Dog Bites Someone?
Even if the bite can be explained (e.g., someone stepped on your dog’s tail), it’s important to take responsibility for your dog’s actions.

Did you know that Indiana law requires a biting animal (dog, cat or ferret) be placed in ten (10) day rabies quarantine even if it’s vaccinated?

Many people are hesitant to report bites because they are afraid of the outcome. Once a report is filed, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control must determine the severity of the bite, where the bite occurred (at home or off property) and how many times the animal has bitten. Those factors will determine whether or not the animal will be placed in the home for the quarantine period or housed at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control for the ten (10) days required by state law. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control does not automatically put biting animals to sleep. Owners that report bites are doing the responsible thing for the safety of other animals and the bite victim(s), human or animal. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control wants nothing more than for the people and animals to be safe and healthy. Our goal, whenever possible, is to keep your animal at home where it belongs.

After a bite occurs, the following steps should be taken:
• Confine your dog away from the scene of the bite.
• Check on the victim’s condition. Wash wounds with soap and water. Professional medical advice should be sought.
• Report the bite. Call Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control inside the city and the sheriffs department in the county.
• Consult your veterinarian for advice about dog behavior that will help prevent similar problems in the future.
• If someone else’s dog bites you, seek medical treatment, and then call authorities with everything you know about the dog to help animal control officers locate the dog.

Dogs are wonderful companions. By acting responsibly, owners not only reduce dog bite injuries, but also enhance the relationship they have with their dogs.

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Obesity is the number one health problem among dogs.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, there are 77.5 million dogs in the United States with over 41 million of these dogs considered overweight or clinically obese.

Fat dogs are just so cute! What’s the big deal? The big deal is the long list of health risks associated with the excess weight. High blood pressure, crippling arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory distress and some cancers can shorten your much loved dog’s life by 2 to 2 ½ years. Besides reducing a dog’s quantity of life, excess weight also reduces the quality of a dog’s life.

The number one cause of obesity in our dogs is….humans.

Simply put, getting too much to eat and not enough exercise is the combined cause of obesity in our companion pets.

If too many calories and too little exercise is the cause, then reverse that formula for the treatment.

See if you can feel your dog’s ribs. Educate yourself regarding the appropriate weight for your breed of dog and your dog’s caloric intake in its daily food and treats.

In the words of Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, “The most important decision a pet owner makes each day is what they choose to feed their pet. Choose wisely. Your pet’s life depends on it.”

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Tonight I am going to bed worried about a single injured and neglected hen from an open investigation. It seems silly after all these years. The welfare of a single, solitary, chicken…that is the nature of this profession and the reason very few reach retirement. It is not a job; it is a dual mission that we pursue for the animals who need our care or intervention and on behalf of the community in which we live.

Over the past 29 years I have been surrounded by the most amazing people from all walks of life and every station. What resonated for all was our mutual concern for animal welfare and the sense of belonging and personal investment that makes it right to provide for our animals as well as our citizens.

There are so many to thank for making my career here at Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control so meaningful. The incredibly professional staff and volunteers, city administrators supporting our efforts behind the scenes, my coalition colleagues, and a myriad of citizens spreading our good word and contributing to our cause.

My maxim right now is that I am too young to retire, but you have to recognize when it is time to step aside. So what is next for me? It will be a pathway of pursuit of my passions and time with my family. My encore career focus will be on cruelty interventions, teaching, photography, and travel, as well as helping others to pursue their passions. I will be leaving in January but will always support this wonderful and deserving agency and our hard working coalition. We have already been working on making this a smooth transition and knowing that we have built a strong, capable and caring team makes this, now, the right path to take. So instead of saying goodbye, which is always filled with sadness, I will say hello to tomorrow’s new adventure with great anticipation.

Belinda Lewis

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Every evening large raccoons scour my alleyway in the hopes of finding something to eat, and dozens of squirrels live in the old growth trees surrounding my south side historic home. I even had to call Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control once to have them retrieve a bat out of my children’s playroom.

If you are a city resident, chances are you, too, live side by side with all types of wonderful creatures. Urban sprawl has happened gradually and, over time, has created fragmentation of wildlife habitats making it impossible for any animal to travel without coming into contact with our neighborhoods. Many of the creatures do not exhibit fear of people because they are born and raised among us. They have replaced their nesting places with decks, tool sheds, storm drains, attics, crawlspaces and chimneys among other residential cubbies. Many of them are opportunistic feeders who dine on dog and cat food or garbage left out overnight.

It is important to know that wild animals creating a nuisance, or simply being present outside your home, are not considered a threat to public safety. For those instances, contacting a wildlife removal company or simply removing those items that are attracting them to your home can be enough. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control should be contacted if the wildlife has made it inside your home or if any wildlife is causing an immediate public safety hazard.

We receive calls on a regular basis and will provide advice for the concerned caller. Many of those calls involve raccoons out during the day. Do not panic. This does not mean the raccoon is rabid. Raccoons have adapted and, although primarily nocturnal, it is not uncommon to see them out foraging for food during daylight hours. It could be a female foraging longer hours to support her young. We simply advise residents to seal their trash lids in some way and avoid leaving anything outside that may attract them. Urban wildlife enjoy the easy life we often unknowingly provide for them; they don’t like a hostile environment. Taking steps to deter them will encourage them to move on.

Often, in the spring, we will receive calls about baby birds that have fallen from their nest. If this occurs and you know where the nest is, gently place the baby bird back into its nest. It is an old wives tale that the mother won’t come back if you touch the babies. It simply is not the case. If you are unable to find the nest or it is unreachable, you can make a nest and place it in the tree as close to the nest site as possible. The parent birds will hear their baby and find it easily.

Mother rabbits often make nests in backyards. If the nest is near a fence line that your dog can reach, simply move the nest to the other side of the fence. A mother rabbit will join her babies near dawn or dusk. She may stay away from her babies nearly all day so as to not attract attention to the nest. If you fear she may not be coming back for her babies, sprinkle flour outside the nest area and watch for footprints. If in a 24-hour time period no footprints are seen, call Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control or simply bring the babies in.

Never put yourself at risk when it comes to wildlife in need of help. It is important that you never handle an animal that is injured. Always call when in doubt. Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, an all-access, all-species facility, will always send an officer to assist an injured or suffering animal. Call FWACC at 260-427-1244 for help or nights after 8pm & weekends contact us at 449-3000. We work with many organizations to do what is in the best interest of all injured, orphaned or sick wildlife. The Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, will take our orphaned, injured or sick wildlife for evaluation and rehabilitation. Upon recovery, the wildlife is returned to their natural habitat. “Bob the Batman” works strictly with bats (that have not bitten anyone), and he ensures their health before releasing them back into the wild. We also work with Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rehab for birds of prey that are in need of care.

At Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control, we believe humans and animals can live side by side safely. Take steps to discourage wildlife around your home by taking a few simple steps: Keep your chimney capped, secure your trash can lid with a thick rubber strap, don’t leave dog or cat food outside unattended and try to keep holes sealed off that may provide access to your home. For more information on how to discourage wildlife, visit our website at and click on “service” and choose “wildlife” or visit
We hope that you will continue to help us help both domestic and wild animals.

Local Companies licensed by the DNR for Wildlife Removal

American Animal Control

Basic Wildlife Removal

Critter Control

Naylor and Sons

Sly Fox Wildlife Control

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Where did the summer go? A major change is on its way (fall & winter) and with it the first days of school. Going back to school is an exciting time for kids and families as we rush around school shopping; backpacks, clothes, changing our routines and gearing back up for after school activities. In this busy time, don’t forget about your pets! Your pets are going through an adjustment as well, many pets grow accustomed to the extra attention they receive over the summer months playing outside, hanging out late and night while you watch movies and they can even sense the relaxation that many of us experience in the slower, summer months.
As you return to school and new routines, keep in mind your pets are creatures of habit. Changing up their routines can be stressful and may even lead to ‘bad’ behaviors such as chewing up things they shouldn’t, having accidents inside your home or simply becoming more anxious because they don’t know what to expect.
Take the following steps to be sure YOUR pet makes the Back to School Transition with all A’s :
1. Routine- Be sure to keep your pet on a routine. Be sure that the daily routine you create for your pet mirrors a typical school day. Just like kids, pets become acclimated to the extra sleep, attention and fun over summer vacation. Work with them on specific times for food, walks, bathroom breaks and “free time” play with the family. This will help your pet know what to expect daily and minimize their anxiety
2. Separation – If your pet suffers from excessive separation anxiety you may want to consider a local Doggy Daycare. Or if your pet may be used to being left alone for long periods throughout the day, but remember, if you’ve been home, this new separation from their family can be very stressful. Be sure to create a safe place for your pet; cats can be kept in a room they are familiar with along with their litter, food and water available at all times with plenty of hiding places that are cozy. A dog, if it’s used to a crate, would be the safest place while you are gone. If your dog is used to having free reign, be sure to provide your dog with a blanket that smells like home (or you) and create a comfortable space for them.
3. Toys – Pets get bored too! Be sure to provide your pet some fun interactive toys to provide mental stimulation throughout the day or they may become destructive. For fun ideas on how you can provide safe and inexpensive interactive dog & cat toys:
4. Exercise – Never underestimate the power of exercise. Schedule 15-30 minutes in the morning to be sure your pet gets plenty of time outside or playtime inside (for cats think about a laser toy or simply a ball on the end of a string) so that they are more likely to rest during the day while you are away. A sleepy pet and one who has burned off extra energy first thing is less likely to bark / meow while you are away, and less likely to present with other behavioral issues. Not only will your pet benefit, but it will enjoy their ‘special’ time with you.
5. Schedule Veterinarian Appointments – Schedule your veterinarian appointments well in advance for annual vaccinations and routine care. This will help you avoid the stress on your entire family as you plan around meal times, after school activities and by placing them on your calendar you will be less likely to feel anxious about fitting them in. Dogs and cats are part of the family too, so make sure you focus extra attention on them when their world has suddenly been turned upside down. You may decide Doggy Daycare is a great option for your busy dog or having a neighbor who can check in on your cat throughout the day. You may even find it’s time to add a family member through adoption at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control (click on the adopt link) to keep your current pet company. Whatever you decide, be sure it is the right choice for your pet and your family. Do your breed and species research and be sure that you set your pet up for success as your children go back to school.

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Animal Care & Control reminds you to give extra attention to provisions for animals during summer heat.
• When possible, bring pets into an air-conditioned area of your home; fans are helpful;
• Animals must have a shady, sheltered place to rest and quantities of fresh water available at all times. Do not leave pets unattended in a garage or non-air-conditioned building such as a garage;
• Fly bites, fleas and ticks can cause serious problems for pets. Contact a veterinarian for preventatives;
• Do not take pets into the downtown festival areas. Officers will be patrolling and asking people with animals to take them home. It is against city ordinance to take pets to festivals and fairs within city limits.
• Leaving a pet in a parked car is a violation of city ordinance when the conditions, in that vehicle, would constitute a health hazard to the animal;
• Heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid pulse, a staggering gait and vomiting are signs that your pet may be suffering from heat stress. Contact a veterinarian immediately.
Any animal that is found by the shelter to be left in conditions that pose an immediate health hazard to the animal will be taken directly to Animal Care & Control for its safety. A written notice will be provided for the owner to claim their pet from the shelter located at 3020 Hillegas Road.

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All of us at Animal Care & Control want pet owners to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday while keeping their pets safe and secure. Dogs and cats can easily become overwhelmed by the sudden explosions of fireworks causing panic and fear. Pets that have never attempted to run off before may bolt through a screen door, jump a fence or dig under a gate to get away from the loud sounds during the days surrounding the holiday.
Every year, the loud booms of fireworks contribute to the increased number of runaway pets that are found and given to Animal Care & Control. To keep pets safe, we offer the following tips:
• Keep dogs inside your home or in a well-ventilated building as much as possible when fireworks are being used in your area.
• Cats should be kept inside at all times.
• Secure gates and supervise your animals while outside.
• Be sure to keep a current identification tag on your pet’s collar.
• Pets should not be taken to any parade or celebration where fireworks or sirens occur. Loud noises increase the chance of your pet fleeing and becoming lost in an unfamiliar area.
Leaving an animal in a parked car when conditions pose a health hazard will result in a ticket. Even on a 70-degree day the inside of a car can reach temperatures of 120 degrees or more in a matter of minutes. Partially opened windows won’t provide sufficient air, but do provide an opportunity for your pet to be stolen, experience a seizure or suffer death in a short timeframe.
If your pet disappears, our business office will be CLOSED on Friday, July 3 for the holiday and will re-open Monday, July 6 from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. for people to search for a lost pet. Anyone finding a lost animal is asked to file a found report with the shelter. The animal can be kept in the finder’s home or relinquished to Animal Care & Control, located at 3020 Hillegas Rd. Call 427-1244 for information and to immediately report a found pet.

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The 3rd full week of May is Bite Prevention Week. Most dog bites are caused by a dog the victim knows which is why we spend so much time in our Humane Education Program at Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control talking to school aged children about animal safety! Did you know that most dog bites are preventable? How? There are many easy things you can do as an adult to be sure that your kids, as well as others, are safe around dogs.

• Never leave infants or children alone with any dog
• Spay or neuter your pet (dogs are less likely to bite if they are altered)
• Train your dog in an obedience class
• Don’t play aggressive games with your dog
• Keep your dog leashed during walks
• Keep your dog healthy; an unnoticed injury can make a dog aggressive
• Make your dog an inside member of your family. Outdoor, unsocialized dogs are more likely to bite than dogs that socialize with children, adults and other animals
• Don’t chain your dog. Chaining leads to aggression in dogs (it’s a territory thing)

Here are some basic rules when around dogs you know AND dogs you don’t know:

• Stay away from unfamiliar dogs
• Never run from or scream at a dog
• Be “still like a tree” when an unfamiliar dog comes near you
• If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and stay still, like a log
• Ask permission before you pet a dog
• Never play with a dog unless an adult is there to watch you
• Tell an adult if you see a stray dog or a dog acting strangely (for stray dogs call Animal Care & Control at 427-1244 or afterhours at 449-3000)
• Don’t look a dog right in the eyes
• Don’t disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, has a bone or is caring for puppies
• Allow a dog to see & sniff you before you pet or play with it

Every 40 seconds someone in the US seeks medical care because of a dog bite & children make up 60% of dog bite vicitims and are often bitten in the face because of their size. About ½ of all children in the U.S. will be bitten by a dog by the 12th grade.

Don’t become a statistic. For more information about how to prevent dog bites visit our website:

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Often enough we find ourselves really rooting for a positive outcome for the pets in our care. Hercules & Muellas were no exception. Hercules & Muellas came into our shelter on a cold day, February 27th. Their owner could no longer afford their care so now it was up to us to find them a forever home. Day after day went by without even a glance from adoption visitors. We posted them on Facebook and Twitter with hundreds of ‘shares’ and still, no takers. We knew right from the beginning this was going to be a difficult adoption. You see, both dogs were 8 years old. Hercules was a pit bull mix and Muellas, although an adorable small breed, is blind. We knew they just had to go together because Muellas relied on Hercules to get around and Hercules really enjoyed the company of his smaller friend. All of a sudden their story caught on to a number of national websites: Woofipedia, and Vetstreet. We were so excited, surely this would be the key to getting both of these dogs adopted together. Then on Tuesday, March 31st, we decided to feature both dogs on WANE-TV’s Pet of the Week. Finally, a lucky break. The following day, a wonderful family from Antwerp, Ohio – The Wilson family drove the 45 minutes with 4 of their 8 children to meet this wonderful duo. It was love at first sight and after a full month with no interest, Hercules & Muellas were going home. We paged our entire staff to join us in sending them with this wonderful family! What a thrill for everyone to see these wonderful dogs that we have cared for, walked, given medications & treats to… we had all become so attached. Their endearing story had traveled far to find a family that lived so close! Hercules & Muellas even made the Huffington Post We are honored to be a part of their story and many others like them. We know that we will see many more homeless pets in 2015, and many more will steal our hearts for a fleeting moment. Hercules and Muellas will be a constant reminder for us to continue our journey to find the perfect home because every dog has their day and we are here to help them find it!

Hercules & Muellas & their new forever family:
The Wilson’s

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Animal Care & Control is offering free straw to any Allen County resident in need of animal bedding during these cold days of winter. Pet owners are urged to continually monitor the needs of pets whenever the animals are outdoors. The straw is being offered through private donation to be used for bedding and to keep the ground surrounding a doghouse mud free.

Visit Animal Care & Control located at 3020 Hillegas Road during general business hours Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and until 7:00 p.m. Wednesdays.

The shelter offers these additional winter pet care tips –
• An animal that spends time outside must have access to a proper shelter specifically designed for an animal. The shelter must be free of leaks to wind, snow, and rain. Face the opening of the shelter to the east or south away from prevailing winds or fasten a heavy door flap to the top of the doorframe.

• Locate the animal’s home to a warmer location in the sun.

• Create a snug inner room by making a removable partition inside the doghouse in back of the door opening.

• Use straw or cedar chips for bedding. Towels, blankets and hay are insufficient because cloth draws moisture and hay will mold.

• Insulate the animal’s house and raise it several inches above the ground with concrete blocks to prevent snow from drifting inside. Frame the elevated area with boards or sand bags to prevent winds from gusting under the animal’s house.

• Animals living inside an unheated garage must have a shelter inside the garage.

• Animals need extra food to help generate enough body heat to stay warm and must have unfrozen water to drink at all times. A heated water bucket is a great investment.

• All dogs and cats living within the city must wear the required city pet registration tag on a properly fitted leather or nylon collar.

• Keep all cats inside. Those who spend time outside can experience frostbite, or become lost or injured.

• Bring dogs inside during extreme cold spells. Animals are very susceptible to frostbite and can quickly die of hypothermia if left outside unsupervised. Puppies and senior dogs do not tolerate the cold, so make walks and playtime short.

• Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach following cold weather walks. Dogs can easily ingest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws. Check paws for cuts caused by snow or encrusted ice.

• Never hesitate to call the shelter regardless of the day or time to report an animal in need of help within the city. Call 260-427-1244.

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