Student feels job allows her to make a difference

Since she began working at the Kenton County Animal Shelter five months ago, Jennifer Foley, a junior anthropology major, said she has gotten close to only one animal.

“The last one (dog) I got close to, I took home with me,” Foley said. “This puppy had flea bites all over him, and there was something about him.”

The dog is an Australian cattle mix, and she said he was smart enough to be potty trained within two days. The dog was a stray that someone had picked up in Covington, and is one of many dogs that people from the Kenton County area bring to the shelter.

During the summer months, Foley said the shelter gets 300 to 400 dogs per week. With this influx of animals, many times shelter employees have to euthanize the dogs to keep the shelter (which has only 24 cages) under control.

Foley said they are working to fix that.

“Our shelter is really small, so we are trying to raise money to get a separate place to hold adoption animals so that we don’t have to euthanize all the animals,” she said.

Adoption animals are the ones that owners, who don’t have time to care for their dog, bring in.

“Legally, we have to hold on to the strays for five days, so sometimes the adoption animals get put down before the strays,” Foley said.

Foley said they decide which ones to euthanize by doing a temperament testing on the animal. Animals that have been there the longest are often the first to get put down, as well.

“Sometimes the ones that aren’t the most desirable get put down,” Foley said.

Foley said the hardest part is not when they have to euthanize an animal, but when an animal that has a home no longer has one.

“The hardest part is when an older animal comes in and it comes in and doesn’t understand why it has to be in a cage,” Foley said. “They are constantly looking for their owner.”

Foley said she feels like she is making a difference in her job.

“I’ve always loved animals, and you watch on Animal Planet how people abuse them, and you just want to protect them,” she said. “This is my way to do it.”

Her duties at the shelter include cleaning cages and vaccinating animals, but what makes her happiest is seeing a good adoption.

“When you see a good adoption, you know that animal is going to a good home. You can just see on the faces when they are happy,” Foley said. “It feels good to do something good.”

She said that the shelter also has twice as many cats as dogs. She said the reason for the number of cats is because many people don’t spay or neuter their felines, and cats can have up to 5 to 6 kittens in a litter, and up to 3 litters a year.

If interested in adopting an animal, Foley said that people can come into the shelter, fill out a questionnaire, and adopt an animal. Dogs cost $70, and cats cost $60. Vaccination shots are included.