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Swamped, Allegheny County animal shelters trigger adoption deals

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 11:41 a.m.
In the offices of the Animal Rescue League in Homewood, best friends Nina (left) and Cody play, while Joe Tedesco and Jordana O'Malley discuss work, Thursday, October 11, 2012. The ARL is out of space for dogs as it has accepted pets transferred from Triangle Pet Control and a high number of walk-ins. Tedesco is the adoption manager at the ARL, and O'Malley is an adoption counselor. Nina is an adult Staffordshire mix, while Cody is a pit/lab mix. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Ernie, a poodle mix, is one of the dogs transferred from Triangle Pet Control to Animal Friends in Ohio Township, Thursday, October 11, 2012. Evaluating the personality and temperament of Ernie is Amy Dukes, adoption coordinator for Animal Friends. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Ernie (left) a poodle mix, and Bert, a beagle, are two of the dogs transferred from Triangle Pet Control to Animal Friends in Ohio Township, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. Evaluating the personality and temperament of Bert and Ernie is Amy Dukes, adoption coordinator for Animal Friends. Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh-area animal shelters filled with dogs after taking animals from shuttered Triangle Pet Control Services in McKees Rocks and will lower adoption fees for certain animals to make room.

Animal Friends in Ohio Township, the Animal Rescue League in Larimer and the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society in Manchester are running a “$30 @ 3” promotion, lowering adoption fees to $30 for all dogs older than 2. The usual adoption screening process for shelters applies.

“People always want puppies,” said Humane Society spokeswoman Gretchen Fieser. “Some of these (older dogs) are great dogs but a lot of people pass these dogs over.”

The shelters are housing more than 20 animals from Triangle Pet, which closed Oct. 1 after failing two inspections. They expect an increase in animals that people surrender or animal wardens bring in, said Animal Friends spokeswoman Jolene Miklas.

“I've been here almost three years and we've had full times before, but this is really bad,” said Dan Rossi, Animal Rescue League's executive director.

He said the number of people dropping off unwanted animals increased 25 percent since Triangle closed.

The shelter on Hamilton Avenue is housing animals in offices because the 85 spaces in its kennels are full. It placed 30 to 40 animals with foster families, Rossi said.

“When we have this many animals, we're at higher risk of bad behavior, or sickness spreading among the kennels,” Rossi said.

Adoption fees run $50 to $300, depending on the type of dog, its age, how long the shelter kept it and whether it needs medical care before leaving.

Several dogs from Triangle were quarantined, evaluated and treated for parvovirus at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center in Ohio Township or AVETS in Monroeville. Others are quarantined at the shelters for health and behavioral evaluations. All the animals should be ready for adoption soon.

Fieser emphasized that people should put identification tags on pets and have veterinarians implant microchips to prevent them from going to shelters if they are lost.

The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society filed citations Wednesday against Triangle Pet owner Bernard Dudash, 73, of Kennedy and kennel manager Paul McIntyre. They are accused of failing to provide veterinary care for a dog that died in a cage. Fieser said the charges can carry a $750 fine or 90 days imprisonment. The investigation continues.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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