TREMONTON - Ellen Cook, Headliner Media Specialist, December 28, 2022
Part of being in law enforcement is dealing with law breakers, trespassers and vagrants, even when they are of the four-legged variety. But unlike human inmates, incarcerated canines in the Tremonton area have often spent just a short time under lock and key before the final verdict – euthanizing.
Tremonton Garland Police Chief Dustin Cordova is trying to change the certainty of a death knoll for dogs by turning the shelter into an adoption facility. The idea is not his alone.
“I give all the credit to my staff,” he said. “My secretary wanted to see something like this happen and asked, ‘Why aren’t we adopting out the dogs? Why aren’t we trying to get them homes?’ But we only have so much space, and we are the closest shelter for Sheriff’s Office and Utah Highway Patrol. Once the shelter becomes full, we have to follow the law and keep them for a certain amount of time and then euthanize them to open up more space.”
Cordova admits setting up the adopting process will mean more work for his department but says his team have all pitched in to make it happen. “This is a passion project for all of us,” he said. “The last thing any of us want to do is put down dogs.”
But in order to make the fledgling program successful, volunteer help from the general public is being sought.
“We could use help from volunteers with experience working with animals, who could do basic obedience training because it helps get them adopted,” Cordova continued. “Then there is feeding the dogs, pulling them out to clean the kennels. Those willing to clean the kennels would be great, too. Any kind of help would be appreciated.”
Right now there are only ten available kennels, which means space is limited for the number of animals the shelter can hold. Chief Cordova hopes to increase that to 14 with additional funding, but “the city is on a very limited budget. A lot of people from the public have put out there that they want to donate and help us, and we are trying to get that set up through an account we can track to make sure that money goes directly to the shelter.”
For now the wish is to see the current shelter occupants find home. “We are at eight dogs right now, but we have three or four people who have agreed to adopt some of those dogs, so we are well on our way to our goal.”
Cordova said a Facebook page, Tremonton Garland Police Department, has pictures of the animals available for adoption, or those interested can call 435-257-9555 to set up an appointment to see the dogs in person at the shelter, located at 300 E 1200 South (By Tremonton Public Works). If it is after hours, dial Extension 1, and leave a message. Those wishing to volunteer can contact the same number.
The adoption process is a simple one, according to Cordova. The dogs must be spayed or neutered, as per Utah law, which would be on the new owner, and a paper must be signed stating that would be done.
“Normally what an adoption agency would do is charge you fees and things like that. We are not looking to make any profit on this,” Cordova said. “ We are asking for a donation but the donation could be a bag of dog food. It could be puppy toys, bones or leashes or collars that we need to improve the quality of life for the animals here. We just want to make sure a good home for the animal is provided and they are taken care of.”
The whole program is in its infancy, but Chief Cordova hopes to see a lot of good come from it. “We are doing the best we can, but the biggest part of this is the public input. We need help from the public to come and volunteer, to come and adopt. They need to support the program so we can be successful.”