Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Sees Same Dog Three Times, Returned Twice

Shelter Has Fewer Returns After Change In Visitor Policy

The Sioux Falls Area Humane Society takes extra steps to make sure that those who are looking to adopt find the right animal. But that doesn’t mean they have a 100 percent success rate. Zelda hopes her third time is a charm.

“Zelda… look at her,” says Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Adoption Counselor CJ Burd. “She’s definitely a high energy dog. She has shown she is a little bit picky about who she likes and who she doesn’t like. She’s just like a person.”

Zelda is a regular at the humane society. The 8-month-old Shiba Inu-Shepherd mix has come through their doors three times; adopted, and returned twice.

“The first time, she was brought back it was a behavior thing. She had some anxiety,” said Burd. “The second time, a family had a, I believe a job change of some kind, where they weren’t home as often as they expected to be.”

Zelda’s story isn’t unusual. Since the beginning of the year, 10 to 17 percent of the animals that have been adopted out have come back to the humane society.

Burd said, “It’s definitely more bitter than sweet to have to see the dogs come back and have to go back up for adoption.”

But that number has actually decreased by around 10 percent since the humane society changed their visitation policy last May. Before, anyone could meet the animals. Now, someone looking to adopt has to first fill out an application and meet with a counselor.

“We’re able to get that out of the way, and kind of try to steer them in the right direction of what dogs or cats are appropriate for their living situation,” Burd said.

They can try to guide people, but not everyone listens. For example, Zelda shouldn’t go to a home with other dogs or children. She needs to work; someone who has time to devote to her.

“It doesn’t mean she’s a terrible dog or that she’d be a terrible dog for anybody, she just wasn’t the right fit for those families,” said Burd.

The humane society only around 30 percent of the animals come back because of behavior issues.

The humane society is also trying to put on more education classes. If all goes well they hope to do them at least twice a month.

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