Counting Canines: Sioux City Animal Shelter Impounding More Pups

The number of dogs impounded at Sioux City's Animal Adoption & Rescue Center is up this year, but the folks who work with those animals say the number has more to do with the owners than the pets

Cindy Rarrat, with Sioux City Animal Adoption & Rescue Center, is no stranger to dogs in need.

"These were all picked up as stray or lost ones, abused, neglected, or abandoned," said Rarrat, while pointing to a row of dog kennels at the Sioux City Animal Adoption & Rescue Center Monday.

Whatever the reason, Cindy's seeing more dogs lately.

From 2010 to 2011 1,384 dogs were caught by the center. From 2011 to 2012 that number increased to 1,461 dogs, 77 more than the previous year.

But Rarrat says the pets aren't to blame.

"We are a product of pet owner irresponsibility, unfortunately," said Rarrat. "That is why our logo is: where responsibility begins."

A lot of dogs end up at the center because their owners don't obey the leash law.

If you walk your dog without a leash in Sioux City, you could pay a fine anywhere from $185 to $1,000.

If those unleashed walks happen often enough, your dog could be taken away.

"We hate to do that, we hate to be the bad guys out there," said Rarrat. "But unfortunately because of irresponsible pet owners, that is why we have our job."

It's not only owners not following or knowing the rules, Rarrat says a lot of the dogs are at the center because they can be an expensive addition to the family.

"Their vaccinations, their rabies vaccinations, city licenses," said Rarrat. "It's not cheap."

The number of cats impounded is up as well. From July 2011 to June 2012, 929 cats were caught, up 30 over last year.