Adopt a Pound Dog

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Dozens of “E-list” dogs (those scheduled to be euthanized) are being transferred from shelters all over the state to Tempe for a special pet adoption event February 11th and 12th. Longtime pet rescue volunteer Cathy LaSausa will speak about the event and how to reduce the number of dogs that end up on the “E-list.”

Ted Simons: Over 150 dogs are up for adoption this weekend at Kiwanis park in Tempe. These are dogs scheduled to die in shelters all across Arizona. Organizers of the happy Valentails adopt a pound dog weekend are trying to save the lives of these animals by finding them loving homes. At the same time they want to erase the stigma that can sometimes go with shelter dogs. Joining me is Cathy LaSusa, she's one of the organizers of the happy Valentails event. Good to have you here.

Cathy Lasusa: Thank you for having me. And thank you so much for allowing us to talk about the plight of shelter dogs.

Ted Simons: you bet. Well, let's talk about the plight of shelter dogs. When we go to the park this weekend for happy Valentails, what kind of dogs are we looking at?

Cathy LaSusa: Happy Valentails adopt a pound dog weekend is the largest single event and unique event of its kind in the state of Arizona. We're going to have about 170 dogs all that were slated to be killed in over eight municipal shelters across the state. And there are -- they're very good dogs, they're small-to-large dogs, young-to-adult dogs, male, female, special needs dogs, all that just need a chance.

Ted Simons: How were these particular dogs chosen? Obviously they were on the E list, what other criteria was involved?

Cathy LaSusa: Basically that's all. Dogs that were scheduled to be killed, the shelters call it the E List, the euthanasia list. These dogs were owner turn-ins, strays, dogs that couldn't be reunited with their families, dogs that were unwanted, dogs that were found in different neighborhoods, and we are hoping to find all these dogs great homes and they are deserving of that.

Ted Simons: And as far as getting on this E list, how long does a dog usually have to be in the pound, in the shelter before they get on this list?

Cathy LaSusa: Usually a mandatory hold period vary. It varies from municipalities, from state to state. Usually it's about 72 hours, it's usually three days.

Ted Simons: Oh that's all, huh?

Cathy LaSusa: Yeah.

Ted Simons: Oh, my goodness. That's surprising. What else is surprising about shelters and pounds in Arizona? That's a different world than most of us experience.

Cathy LaSusa: Yes, it is. First what you said in the introduction is very important. To eliminate the stigma of shelter dogs. People are -- they're not marketed very well. People don't understand that at any given time there can be pedigrees in shelters, there can be puppies in shelters, people go and have impulse buys and buy dogs and cats and pets from puppy mills and pet stores, and back yard breeders, and don't really take the time to think about, hey, maybe we can find a good pet in our local animal shelters, and the shelters could do a little bit more to encouraging the public to come in and help them make a good match.

Ted Simons: I think sometimes the public will go in and they don't know what they're looking at. They don't in a dog behaves a certain way or looks -- what do you look at with a shelter dog? Do you look for activity, maybe a little sheepishness? Friendliness, sometimes a little cautiousness is not a bad thing. What do you look for in a shelter dog?

Cathy LaSusa: The most important thing is for people to know what type of dog they're looking for. What their lifestyle is. Do they want an active dog, a quiet dog, a lap dog? Do they want a puppy? Do they want to raise a dog that's already gone through house training? So the most important thing is to understand what your needs are and to go to the shelter and insist from your local animal shelters that you be provided with volunteers that are familiar with the dogs and that have been working with the cats and dogs to know what those animals are really like. And the animals in shelters are I have scared, they're in a foreign environment, they may have come from a very good home and then all of a sudden they're in an enclosed area being looked at and stared at and their whole routine is changed. And so many dogs get killed in animal shelters because they're fearful, and because they may be timid. But it's important to know that these shelter dogs just need a loving chance at a home, and a good family.

Ted Simons: If someone were to go to a shelter or go to the event this weekend in Tempe, and they say I want X, Y, and Z, this is the lifestyle we live, will there be people to say, this is a good one, and conversely say, if I'm looking here at some kind of dog and you know what I'm looking for something different say, I don't think that's necessarily for you.

Cathy LaSusa: Yes. We have about 175 volunteers, this is a event that's a massive undertaking. We have about 175 volunteers that have been involved with this event. We have about 27 veterinarian professionals, several of whom will be on site to help out. And we have fosters and rescue groups that are participate who have become familiar over the last week or so, the last couple weeks with these animals and have been assessing the animals as to their temperament and level of playfulness. There will be plenty on hand to help any individual who wants to come to the event.

Ted Simons: You can pretty much -- someone will be there to tell about you that dog if you're interested in that dog.

Cathy LaSusa: Right. Exactly. And like with any rescue group, with any good shelter that really is concerned and caring about the pets if an animal is adopted out and it doesn't work out, then we would be happy to work with those people, work with the family or household and if it doesn't work out definitely have the animal come back to us, put in a foster home or put in with our rescue group to make a better match the next time.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Good to have you here. Good to get that information out. We appreciate it.

Cathy LaSusa: Thank you so much for having us.

Ted Simons: The happy Valentails adopt a pound dog weekend takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Kiwanis park in Tempe. The $55 adoption fee includes spay, neuter, vaccination, and microchip. For more information go to

Ted Simons: Friday on "The Journalists' Round Table," antiunion measures advance in the Arizona senate, we'll discuss that. As well as what could be a looming budget battle at the capitol. That's Friday on "The Journalists' Round Table."

Ted Simons: That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Cathy LeSausa:Pet Rescue Volunteer;

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