DECATUR (CBSDFW.COM) – You can visit, you just can’t take photographs to remember it by at the Wise County animal shelter.
Sheriff David Walker has banned photographs of dogs, cats and any other animals at the facility in a move designed to keep unflattering photos of the animals from making their way onto the Internet.
“It makes them look like they’re in jail,” Sgt. Asa Mosely said Tuesday.
Rescue groups regularly take photos and post them on email lists and Facebook pages in order to find interest in animals beyond county lines.
But Mosely said some of the photos were leading to complaint calls and unwarranted criticism on social networking sites.
The sheriff made the decision, Mosely said, for shelter staff to take all the photos and then encourage groups to repost them if they wanted to.
That’s an unacceptable option for Melinda Feickert.
As a liaison for Shelter to Rescue, a group that finds certain breeds inside shelters and gets them to larger rescue groups, she has rescued three to four dogs a day from the shelter before the photo ban.
Now she said she is lucky to find interest in one a day.
She said pictures aren’t updated regularly, and there aren’t enough to garner interest from prospective adopters.
“If we can’t take pictures of it, they can’t see that it’s healthy, can’t see it’s a good acting dog,” she said.
Mosely said the shelter wants to work with rescues and just convinced the county commission to officially waive the $25 adoption fee for the groups.
He would not release numbers on how many animals come in each month and how many are adopted and euthanized, saying there is no running tally of the numbers.
But he estimated 500 dogs came in during the last three months, and about 25 percent were adopted.