An innovative Illinois shelter is turning a tragic situation into a triumphant new policy. Instead of spending each night alone in their kennels, the lucky dogs at the Knox County Humane Society in Galesburg will have the opportunity to snuggle with some of their favorite shelter workers.
The new third shift comes in response to a shelter fire at a Chicago shelter in which 30 dogs perished. Illinois passed the Fire Safety for Pets Act to prevent future tragedies. It takes effect in 2020.
“We are ahead of the game, as we have recently started a program for an overnight staff member to spend the night at the facility each night,” the shelter’s Facebook page reads. “Our facility ensures we have staff during the nighttime hours not just during the day. In the event of a fire, staff can evacuate animals much more quickly.”
The Fire Safety for Pets Act requires kennels to have staff on site at all times, install a fire alarm system that notifies local emergency, or provide a sprinkler system throughout the facility.
According to Volunteer Shelter Director Erin Buckmaster, the decision came down to which option is most likely to save pets’ lives. They determined that a human, especially one the dogs already know and trust, is the best option.
In addition to the safety aspect, the overnight staff also provide the shelter dogs with some one-on-one cuddle time outside of their cages. A practice that can greatly increase their adoptability and success in a home setting.
Better still, the staff are loving the new third shift as much as their furry friends!
“Honestly, I would do it without the money,” said employee Joshua Miller.
This isn’t the first time the Knox County Humane Society has come up with a wonderful way to enrich the lives of shelter dogs. They went viral last year for collecting dozens of used armchairs and recliners. The chairs now adorn each dog’s kennel, giving them a cozy taste of home while they await adoption.
What do you think of Knox County’s proactive approach to the upcoming legal requirements? Should other shelters implement a third shift to help prevent tragedy and improve the animals’ lives?
H/T to OurQuadCities.com