‘Never been this way’ says Rome Dog Control officer handling strays

ROME, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Rome Dog Control Officer Kimberly Vaughn is doing a lot more than responding to barking complaints and looking for unleashed pets.

“When I started this job 19 years ago, I didn’t think I’d be running an animal shelter,” she said. “I am.”

The dog control facility, set up in a former firehouse on Black River Boulevard, is full of kennels that are packed with stray dogs.

Typically, dog control only keeps a stray for a required few days before moving it to a partner shelter.

She said: “It’s never been this way. We’ve never been to a point in this area where we haven’t been able to move dogs somewhere. They’re inundated, at capacity.”

So now, her team is caring for the dogs and training them for adoption, which animal control got state permission to start coordinating. The agency uses PetFinder to promote its animals.

Dog overcrowding, which is common in some cities, is blamed on people giving up on pets they bought during the pandemic.

“People get dogs, and they don’t put enough thought into it,” said Vaughn. “They’re a 15-year commitment, and they cost money. We’re seeing that now people call and say, ‘I cannot take care of my dog financially. What do I do?’ Think hard before you get a dog.”

The department is hoping for at least one adoption per week.

She said: “We have some really nice dogs here right now. We are working with them, helping get their ABCs down, and working on their house training, doing what we can in between dog control.”

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