West Haven Animal Shelter works to find animals forever homes

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — One building in West Haven provides temporary shelter to animals in need of a permanent home.

The West Haven Animal Shelter is operated by animal control officers through the City of West Haven.

“We are a municipal shelter…Our shelter is a byproduct of what we do in our capacity as animal control,” explained Shannon Rose, an animal control officer.

The shelter holds animals of all kinds and with varying backstories.

“…We pick up stray and roaming animals, we pick up orphaned animals, injured animals,” Rose said.

Rose goes by a lot of titles with her unique job, though some are less accurate and less flattering than others.

“One of the other common titles for my position is humane officer [but] I prefer animal control officer. I’ve had people call me the dog catcher, I hate that one. It’s kind of insensitive,” Rose remarked.

Rose and her coworkers aren’t just concerned about protecting animals, they want to keep people safe as well.

“If you were to boil down all the titles, all of the weird things we do, all the crazy stuff we go out to, at the end of the day it’s all about rabies prevention and control,” she said.

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Social media has been attributed to having a major impact in uniting the healthy animals with new owners.

“Social media in general just has a huge impact on what we do. I feel like a lot of what we achieve here wouldn’t be possible without Facebook,” stated Rose. “We have like a 90% live release rate. We advertise all over lost dogs on Facebook [and] we advertise our adoptable dogs on Facebook.”

Rose says her upbringing led her to this important job.

“I grew up with animals, there was always at least one pet in our house. I am the unofficial cat bottle mom so right now I’m bottle feeding 5 kittens,” Rose joked.

She says this role is meant for those who truly care about animals as if they were children.

“You don’t do this job if you don’t love animals and if you aren’t dedicated to them in some way. Every animal that comes through that door is now one of my kids.”

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