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A Shorter Stay in the Dog Pound Thanks to State Law

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Like most dogs at the Westfield Animal Shelter, Gracie knows finding a forever home is hard work, and she’s more than willing to put in the time.

In fact, she now has a bit more time since a new state law went into effect — allowing dogs to go up for adoption 7 days after they’re picked up by an animal control officer, instead of 10.

“For private shelters, it’s a good thing because private shelters unfortunately take in more dogs because they take dogs that people bring in,” says Ken Frazer, Westfield Animal Control officer and operations director at the Westfield Animal Shelter.

Which means if a stray dog is lucky enough to end up in a private, no-kill shelter, they’ll likely get adopted sooner. But not every town has a private, no-kill shelter.

“We have municipalities that have a strict rule — at the end of 7 days, the dog is euthanized,” says Frazer.

Westfield doesn’t euthanize unless a dog is extremely aggressive or sick, but Frazer is concerned that this new law could still pose problems.

“It will make a difference to people who are on vacation,” says Frazer. “Like, I had a scenario here a short while back, I had a black lab in here and nobody claimed it.”

On the 10th day, another family filled out the paperwork to adopt the black lab. Luckily, the dog’s owners got home that same day and learned their dog sitter had been slacking on the job. But, had the 7-day rule been in effect, someone else would now own their pet.

Frazer says it’s also something to keep in mind as the weather warms up and dogs start spending more time outside.

“People need to know that when their dog is missing, they need to contact the shelter and they need to contact the police department,” says Frazer. “These people just don’t do anything and their dog gets loose and they show up here 3 or 4 days later.”

You can find contact information for animal control offices and animal shelters in Massachusetts here: petfinder.com/awo