At least one animal shelter in Iowa will close Friday and Saturday, refusing all adoptions until after Halloween. Marcia Martin, president of the Des Moines County Humane Society in Burlington, says it’s a sad fact that some people might see it as a time to abuse or even kill small animals, whether they’re black cats or some other pet. And she has advice for all pet owners on Beggar’s Night, even if they have a fenced yard. Halloween’s probably the biggest holiday for “people running around your neighborhood,” she points out, with lots of commition — and being territorial dogs can get “pretty riled up,” upset and barking. To avoid upsetting the pet as well as young trick-or-treaters, she advises “keep ’em indoors.” And even with the cat or dog in the house, she has another word of warning. If you’re going to be answering the door when trick-or-treaters come, confine the animal in a room with a door, so they can’t slip outside when you hand out the goodies. Martin says the screening process may seem pretty thorough, but operators of the shelter want to ensure that an owner will care for the animal properly. If they’ve owned a pet before you can find out which veterinarian they used, and that vet can tell whether they properly got the animal neutered and vaccinated. Martin says the humane society’s adoption shelter is also the city pound, and some people whose pets already have been “busted” won’t get a new one. Generally speaking, if the pet comes to the shelter too often, it means the owner’s unable or unwilling to confine an animal properly for its own safety. She says the shelter has a “Do Not Adopt” list, which unfortunately has a lot of names on it. If owners don’t want to pay the fine or court costs to reclaim their pets picked up on the loose, the animals are put up for adoption at the shelter.
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