New Mahoning Co. Dog Pound creating brighter future for strays

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Stray dogs in Mahoning County are movin’ on up to some state-of-the-art digs. The Dog Warden’s Office opened its $3.2 million facility last month and staff says it’s a dream come true — for them and the dogs.

Beautiful isn’t a word typically used to describe dog pounds, but Mahoning County’s new facility is stunning, both in looks and what it offers for the stray dogs that end up there.

“It’s been crazy. Our adoptions are up, people are coming in to see it,” said Mahoning County Dog Warden Dianne Fry.

The new pound on Meridian Road in Youngstown was funded through licenses and animal fees. The facility has spacious, top-of-the-line kennels separated by dog age and size.

There are massive indoor and outdoor areas for dogs to run and play.

Photos: Mahoning County Dog Warden unveils new $3 million pound

Now there’s room to help even more dogs.

“We are able to now offer puppies and small dogs to the public, which we never could before,” Fry said.

People coming to see a dog can do so in one of the quiet, isolated meet-and-greet rooms.

Fry said the dogs are far happier and less stressed now that they have the space to be themselves.

“This building is designed to do exactly what we’re trying to do. Show them in a better light, get that extra training for ourselves and for the dogs to make them transition with, maybe, some better manners.”

Another change is full scope temperament testing. Dogs go through a series of exercises with a trainer that involve petting, food and play behaviors.

It helps staff figure out what kind of family the dog needs.

“Any of the testing that you do with dogs, it’s not a guarantee but it certainly gives us indications,” said Katie Costello, trainer and owner of K9 Campus.

Most of the dogs in the building are pit bulls, which have a bad rap and can be a tough sell. The hope is with space, testing and outreach, every last dog will find a forever home.

“We’re going to try a million things if we have to. We’re going to do the best that we can for these dogs,” Fry said.

In the new year, the Mahoning County Dog Warden’s Office is looking to start up several different programs, including children’s activities and school visits, to try to break through the stereotypes many shelter dogs have.