Frequently Asked Questions

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We are asking Summit County voters who agree to sign our initiative petition to get an ordinance on the ballot for November voting.
This is not a vote for or against the issue. It is just your signature noting that you agree that this is an issue that Summit County voters should have the opportunity to vote on.

We are proposing specific policies and guidelines that would help to ensure our tax dollars are being used to run the Summit County Animal Shelter in the best way possible. This ordinance would require require Summit County Animal Shelter to follow these guidelines to avoid returning to this state of dispute in the future. Here are the main points:

1. To implement basic animal impoundment, redemption, and sterilization standards

a. may not redeem an animal to its owner if it has been impounded two or more times without the animal first being sterilized if the animal is medically cleared for the sterilization.

b. must offer an animal owner redeeming an unsterilized animal sterilization service and provide each animal owner redeeming an unsterilized animal with a written list of sterilization providers in or around Summit County. If the redeemer chooses to sterilize during impoundment, fees will be waived

c. animal must be microchipped before redeeming

2. To implement basic shelter reporting and evaluation procedures

3. To standardize animal ownership requirements, including breed neutral

4. To implement basic adoption and euthanasia avoidance programs

5. To provide for penalties for noncompliance

6. Permit owner surrenders with fees no higher than $75

7. Summit County municipality, village, and township and county law enforcement officers to have access to its facility at all times to impound stray animals

8. Maintain public open hours

9. Provide annual reports of all animal types including impoundment numbers, euthanization numbers, live release rate, adoption rates, returns, animals who died, etc.

10. Shall undergo a comprehensive shelter management/animal care evaluation yearly.

11. All animals must be available for adoption to public or other rescue once animal is sterilized (provided they are medically cleared to be sterilized)

12. Right to Rescue – Prior to 2 days before euthanization, all rescues who are on notice will be notified of the euthanization and have the option to rescue

13. No municipality, village, or township shall enact, nor enforce any law that bans or restricts ownership or keeping of a dog or cat based on its breed or perceived breed.

We definitely don't! We just want to see Summit County Animal Control move back to pre-Covid policies and improve in areas that will truly make a difference for the animals in their care, as well as strays in our community.

In previous years, volunteers worked with the animals to clean cages, fill water bowls, provide toys for enrichment, walk them, engage with a local running club to take the dogs on runs and to the park. There are many ways volunteers can help to make things easier for the employees and the animals in their care!
We believe that additional open public hours and the ability for the public to see animals in person will increase adoptions and owner redemptions. 

We're just trying to make things better for the animals and our community. 

Not at all! This is not associated with any political party nor political ideals. We are a group of people from all backgrounds in Summit County who want to help the animals at our tax payer funded, county-run shelter. We believe our county's most vulnerable animals shouldn't suffer unnecessarily because of a lack of policies and guidelines. 

It is still possible to adopt. It is just not as easy as it could be. Open public hours have recently been extended after much public outcry for change! This is fantastic news  and a step in the right direction, but there's much more work to be done. 
You are not allowed to walk the facility to look at the available pets. You must choose from printed or digital photos.
Often, people choose to adopt the pet that they feel chooses them, or the one whose personality speaks to them. Potential adopters no longer have that option. They must select a picture and then obtain information from the staff rather than having the ability to see all available animals in person. 

Similarly, people who have a missing pet must rely on getting through to someone during open hours and them checking for the missing pet. 

Prior to Covid, the public and volunteers were allowed in the facility. There were longer and more open hours. We just want to get back to that place.  

With the current capacity and lack of access to the facility, many publicly found and stray animals are being turned away. Local law enforcement and animal control officers are unable to access the facility to impound stray animals. The longer this continues, the higher the rate of stray pregnancy and thus more stray animals. 

Similarly, when animals are in this type of kennel environment for long periods of time and not provided with enrichment, interaction and exercise, it may become harder for them to adapt to life once adopted, meaning they are returned, or turned loose on the streets and the cycle starts all over again. 

This truly is a community problem.  

This will not require any additional funding nor Summit County Animal Control employees. Some of these are policies and procedures that were in place prior to Covid. Volunteers will help lift the burden of the employees and they can focus on other daily tasks and serving the public. 

No. This would not require any additional funding for Summit County Animal Control and thus would not increase taxes. 

We wish we had the answer to that question! Many of these things were happening prior to Covid and just haven't been reinstated since the pandemic ended. We can also point to many other successful and well-run neighboring County Animal Controls and Shelters who have very similar policies and programs to those we're proposing. 

We have answers! Please visit us at one of our public events, call or email us at