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Unleashed – PAWsitive Stories from Salt Lake County Animal Services

Explore the Breed: Pitbull Type Dogs

October 12, 2021

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October is National Pit Bull Awareness month so of course it is the perfect time to explore the breed. This year National Pit Bull Awareness Day falls on October 23, 2021. Look at adoptable Pitbull type dogs at Salt Lake County Animal Services.

Pit Bull is a term that is used to describe a type of dog that is descended from bulldogs and terriers and has been used an “umbrella term” to give a general label to a few breeds of dogs with similar origins, appearance, and temperaments. This mislabeling can often have devastating consequences for dogs mistaken as a “Pitbull type” dogs who have landed in a shelter or a city with breed legislation. Often, they are just a random mixed breed of dog.

There are 4 Pitbull type breeds:

1. American Pit Bull Terrier
2. American Staffordshire Terrier
3. Staffordshire Bull Terrier
4. American Bully

These are the 4 most widely accepted Pitbull type dogs. However, some breeds are only accepted by certain kennel clubs, and some are accepted by all Kennel Clubs, making it a little more confusing. All four Pitbull type dogs share their muscular and athletic look, they all have a square-shaped heads, squared nose and almond shaped eyes. They have long, straight tails and their ears are often rose shaped. Their coats are short and smooth and require minimal bathing and brushing and come in most any color.

They have a wonderful temperament, often adoring their humans and craving their attention and company.  They are eager to please their person which makes them very easy to work with and train from a young age. They are very sensitive and sweet souls and are known to be particularly fond of children. They been referred to as “The Nanny Dog”. If properly socialized they tend to do well with other dogs and are quite sociable. As with any dog if they are not properly socialized as a puppy, they can display fear aggression with other dogs.

The American Pitbull Terrier is the most common. It is often thought of as the original Pitbull type dog and has several bloodlines including the Colby Pincher or Colby Pit Bulls, and the Old family red nose. This breed is not recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club) but is however recognized by the UKC (United Kennel Club) and considered to be a purebred dog by the UKC maintaining its breed type for over 150 years.

The American Pitbull Terrier is often the tallest of the 4 breeds and can come in a variety of colors. Males are typically 18-21 inches in height and between 35-60 lbs. Females are 17-20 inches in height and 30-50 lbs. They are often compared to or mistaken for the American Bulldog, the Staffordshire Terrier and the Dogo Argentino, Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa and the Dogue de Bordeaux because of their similar looks but they are all different breeds.

The Red Nose and Blue Nose are variations of the American Pit Bull Terrier and are bred to have exactly that. A Red nose has a copper or earthy brown coat (Brown, red, fawn, chestnut) and their lips, eyes and toenails are also red in color.  A Blue nose will have a blue nose, lips, eyes, and toenails will be blue or grey in color. A different color nose is a result of low melanin levels and can create health issues and diseases. It is linked to skin allergies, heart disease, eye conditions and an increased chance of cancer and decreased immune system.

The American Staffordshire Terrier or “AmStaff” is recognized by the AKC but not the UKC. The American Staffordshire Terrier has a very sweet nature and is known for being a family companion. They are stocky, muscular, and often agile. Their coats are short, and they come in a variety of colors, solid, partial, or patched. Males are typically 18-19 inches at shoulders and females are 17-18 inches at shoulder.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is recognized by all major Kennel Clubs. They are the smallest of the Pitbull type dogs. They are known for being affectionate, tenacious, very intelligent and brave. They can be a great choice for a household that is smaller due to their size. Typically, males are 14-16 inches height at shoulder and 28-38 pounds. Females are 24-34 pounds and come in a variety of colors.

The American Bully is a descendant of the American Pitbull Terrier but has become so distinct in appearance overtime it is now considered to be its own breed. They were a breed developed in the 1980’s and is recognized by the UKC and The American Bully Kennel Club. The American Bully Kennel Club recognizes them in 4 sizes (Pocket, Standard, Classic and XL) There are also Micro and XXL American bullies, but they are not officially recognized. They are shorter than an APT and wider than any of the other breeds.  They are often compared to American Bulldogs, English Bulldogs and English Bull Terriers. They measure 16-20 inches from paw to shoulder but do not have a set weight. They are considered a medium sized dog that are packing some serious muscle. They have very specific nutrition requirements at all stages of their life to promote their large muscle mass.

Credit: Love your dog, Farmers Digest, Bark Post and Wikipedia.

Additional Info on Pitbull Type Dogs

What They Need

Pitbull type dogs tend to form strong bonds with their owners and make wonderful family dogs. They are known to be gentle, silly, playful social butterflies and love being a part of an active household and are often great with children. They are highly intelligent and typically will exceed in obedience work. As with all dogs it is important to socialize them with other animals at an early age and continue to throughout their lifetime. They are active dogs and usually have a high drive for physical activity and a need for mental stimulation.  Running, scent work, pack walks, playing tug, agility, Fly Ball or frisbee and playing with another dog are all great ways to help your Pitbull expend some energy mentally and physically. On the flip side of this they are also known to be attuned to their owners and adjust their attitudes as such being down for a long hike or a nap on the couch.

They are very food motivated and love to chew so it is important to provide them with plenty of strong chew toys. They are short-haired and low shedders; they require less grooming compared to other breeds and only need bathed every 4-6 weeks and a brush with a rubber mitt once a week to remove excess or dead hair. It is important to clip their nails every couple of weeks to prevent cracking or breaking and keep their ears clean and free of wax and dirt to prevent infections.

Because they are so high-energy and muscular, American Pit Bull Terriers tend to need more protein in their diet. They also benefit from lots of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to keep their coats glossy and their skin free of the allergies and inflammatory conditions to which they can be prone.

Size and Health

Refer to the individual information on each breed for height and weight.

They typically have a life span of 8-14 years and can be susceptible to a range of health issues.

Hip Dysplasia, Knee problems, Skin Infections, Thyroid disease, Ichthyosis, Cataracts, Cerebellar Ataxia and Heart Disease.

Origins of the Pitbull

Old English Terriers and Old English Bulldogs were bred together until the mid-19th century to produce a dog that combined the strength and athleticism of the bulldog and the gameness of the terrier. This type of dog was bred in the British Isles and became known as the bull and terrier.  In the UK Bull-and-terriers were used in bull baiting and bear baiting. Bloodsports were outlawed in 1835 in the UK, when Britain introduced animal welfare laws, so “rat-baiting” and dogfighting – which were easier to hide from police – became the new sports of popularity. This continued for decades and took place in small areas of Britain. These dogs arrived in the United States around 1845-1860 were the fighting practice continued, in 1898 the breed was recognized by the UKC and named the American Pit Bull Terrier.

In the early stages of America, many immigrants brought their Pit Bull dogs over as part of their families. Though the dogs were bred for fighting sports, the were also incredibly intelligent and friendly. They were used for a variety of jobs that including being used as “catch dogs” for semi-wild cattle and hogs, and to drive livestock, protecting the family from predators, watching the children, and providing companionship. As the popularity of newspapers and media grew throughout the years, many of these dogs were brought to attention for the number of exemplary deeds they performed and by the early 20th Century they were considered “Americas Dog”.

There have been several Pit Bulls that were famous throughout the 20th century and toted as American heroes. Bud, Sgt. Stubby and Petey of Little Rascals fame to name a few. There were several notable figures throughout history that were avid Pitbull owners and supporters, and they were even used in advertising as a National Mascot during WW1 and WW2 and were some of the first dogs used in American war times.

Around 1987 there was a turning point where the media began portraying them in an unfavorable light and Breed Specific Legislation began to take hold. The media has been sensationalizing stories for quite some time to gain readership, but it has been the dogs who have suffered far more than people have.

Thankfully there are more and more people helping to advocate, educate and getting on board to help Pit bulls and fight for their rights and show them in a better light. BSL is being challenged in many states and many Pit bull’s owners have once again helped them to be seen as the loving dogs they can be who are service animals, certified therapy dogs, work in Search and Rescue, trained to work on police forces, working as educational dogs for Humane Education and the list goes on. They are smart, sensitive, forgiving, charming, silly loving dogs that just need to be given a chance.


Fun Facts

FUN FACT: They are not inherently aggressive dogs. In fact, in temperance tests, Pit bulls were the second most tolerant breed behind Golden Retrievers. The least tolerant was the Chihuahua.

FUN FACT: Bud, was a Pitbull who accompanied his owner Horatio Nelson Jackson on the first cross–country road trip in 1903. Jackson and his traveling companion found Bud about halfway through their trip, and he gained almost as much attention as his new owner. Bud’s googles are still on display at the National Smithsonian today, and he became the face of The Auto Era in advertising.

FUN FACT: During WWI and WWII, Pit Bulls were used in advertising as a national mascot

FUN FACT: Petey from the Little Rascals was originally played by a show biz dog named Pal (and later his offspring), who was also cast as the live version of cartoon Buster Brown’s dog Tige.

FUN FACT: Pit Bulls were on the cover of Life Magazine three times – more than any other dog.

Pitbull Awareness Events 2021

Free Pittie Fix: Salt Lake County Animal Services will be holding a FREE Pittie Fix the week of Oct 18-22.



*In jurisdiction cities: Bluffdale, Holladay, Midvale, Millcreek, Murray, Salt Lake City

In jurisdiction townships: Brighton, Copperton, County Islands, Emigration Canyon, Kearns, Magna, White City


Treats: Get them treats! Looking for a fun way to celebrate or participate? Donate needed goods to the pets in the shelter. You can help dogs by fulfilling items from their Amazon Wishlist! Everything from peanut butter to Kongs! All items purchased will ship directly to the shelter.

Hounds Around Town: Looking for a fun way to celebrate and participate? How about joining our Hounds Around Town Program and getting one of our dogs out of the shelter for the day and on adventure around town to help them get adopted?

Our PUPS need you! Take them out for an adventure and let them be Hounds Around Town. First, you’ll need to complete a quick training and then road trip time. The dogs love going for a walk around the park, getting a puppacino from Bjorn’s Brew, and hanging out with you.

When you’re done, you’ll share pics of their adventure, those will help them get adopted! Email for more info!


Explore the Breed: Chihuahua's

September 02, 2021

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The Chihuahua is a tiny dog with a huge personality. They are a national symbol of Mexico and among the oldest breed of the Americas, they have lineage going back to the ancient kingdoms of pre-Columbian times and is named after the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Check out our adoptable Chihuahua's at Salt Lake County Animal Services. 

There are two varieties of Chihuahua, Smooth Coat and the Long Coat, and they can come in many colors and patterns including black and tan, fawn, chocolate, white, blue and red. Both smooth and long coats are equally easy to keep clean and well groomed. Smooth coat ranges from having a velvet touch to a whiskery feel. Longhaired Chihuahuas are smoother to the touch and have fine-guard hairs and a downy undercoat, this gives them their fluffy appearance.  Unlike many long-haired breeds, longhaired Chihuahuas require no trimming and minimal grooming. They should have their coat brushed once a week to avoid tangling or mats. The longhair typically sheds less than shorthaired Chihuahuas. It can take up to three years before a longhaired coat develops.

Chihuahuas heads can also vary: They can either have a rounder apple head or a deer-shaped head, which is narrower with a longer snout. They weigh anywhere from 3-6 pounds making them great city apartment dogs.

Chihuahuas love their people but typically bond to an individual person, often they are lapdogs with their person through and through. They are known to be excellent watchdogs due to their terrier like bold personality and that they are often suspicious of strangers. They are great at alerting you if something is amiss around your house and while they can be family dogs if properly socialized and handled well by children, they do best in an adult household.

What They Need

Chihuahuas are charming, sassy, and smart. They are small but have big personalities. They are often easy to train, easy to groom, prone to health issues, good for first time pet owners, and have strong loyal tendencies. They are busy and like to be close to their owners and are often underfoot. They as with any dog, need to be properly socialized from a young age.

Chihuahuas are typically easy to care for requiring little grooming, but it is recommended that they have their teeth brushed regularly and their nails trimmed.

They can get cold very easily and do not tolerate cold weather well. They do not mind being dressed up in a sweater or coat, they are often tiny fashionistas and are commonly referred to as “purse dogs”.

Chihuahuas need about 20-30 minutes of exercise daily. This can include walks, toy time, running around in the yard. They are known to go-go-go so it is important to make sure they do not tire themselves out too much especially in hot weather.

Chihuahuas are fast learners and can compete in agility and obedience trials with just as much success and enthusiasm as a large breed dog.

It is important that they are provided high quality food in proper amounts for their age as they are prone to becoming overweight.

Size and Health

Height 6-10 in

Weight 4-6 lbs.

Life span 12-20 years

Some issues that can possibly affect the Chihuahua include heart problems, eye disease, patellar luxation, idiopathic epilepsy, congenital hydrocephalus, muscular dystrophy, congenital deafness, neurological diseases, and periodontal disease.

Origins of the Chihuahua

The Chihuahua's origin isn't 100% clear, there are two main theories that exist. One says Chihuahuas descended from a Central or South American dog known as the Techihi, a larger version of the Chi dating back to the 9th century and the Toltec civilization. The Aztecs conquered the Toltecs, who then made techichi prominent in their society. They believed the dogs had mystic powers—and had the ability to see the future, heal the sick, and safely guide the souls of the dead to the underworld.

The Spanish conquered the Aztecs in the late 1500s, and the techichi faded into obscurity. The dogs lived in remote villages, and when they were discovered by Americans visiting Mexico in the mid-1800s they were found mostly in the State of Chihuahua, gaining the name “Chihuahua”.

The second theory is that small hairless dogs from China were brought to Mexico by Spanish traders and then bred with small native dogs. These are the origins of short-haired Chihuahuas; the longhaired variety was probably created through crosses with papillons or Pomeranians.

The first American Kennel Club-registered Chihuahua, Beppie, was recorded in 1908. Chis gained popularity as pets during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950swith help from famed musician and bandleader Xavier Cugat, who famously waved his baton with one hand while he held a Chihuahua in the other.

Relative to their bodies, Chihuahuas have the biggest brain in the dog world.

FUN FACT: Remember the Taco Bell Dog? A Chihuahua named Gidget made the phrase “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!" unforgettable during the 1990s. 

FUN FACT: The world’s smallest dog, Brandy is a Chihuahua measuring just 6 inches from her nose to the tip of her tail.

FUN FACT: The minor league baseball team in El Paso, Texas is named the Chihuahuas 

FUN FACT: Like human babies, chihuahuas have a soft spot on their heads called molera. But unlike babies, a chihuahua might have the spot for its whole life.

FUN FACT: A feral pack took over and terrorized an Arizona town in 2014.



Explore the Breed: Labrador Retrievers

July 20, 2021

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The Labrador Retriever is often abbreviated to Labrador or Lab and is one of the most popular dog breeds in several countries throughout the world. Labrador Retrievers are known for their obedience, loyalty, and playfulness. You may even find them available for adoption at Salt Lake County Animal Services.

The Labrador Retriever is a medium-large dog from the United Kingdom. They were developed from imported Canadian fishing dogs. They are referred to as gun dogs or bird dogs and are a type of hunting dog developed to assist hunters in finding and retrieving game. Usually quail, ducks, and doves. Gun dogs are divided into three primary types: retrievers, pointing breeds and flushing dogs.

Labradors are often trained as a disability assistant and aid those with blindness or autism, they act as therapy dogs. Law enforcement and other official agencies train them for detection and screening work.  They are prized as sporting and hunting dogs.

Labrador Retrievers are registered in three colors. Black (solid black) Yellow (from creamy white to a fox type red) and chocolate (medium to dark brown).  Some dogs are sold as silver purebred Labradors, but the purity of those bloodlines is disputed by breed experts and is believed to be a crossbreeding of a Weimaraner and a Labrador although this has not been conclusively proven.  Occasionally they will exhibit small amounts of white fur on their chest, paws, or tail.

What They Need:

Labradors are playful, even-tempered, loyal, and intelligent. They have a warm and friendly temperament that can make them ideal for a first-time owner and often are a great family dog. They have a good reputation with other animals and children of all ages.

Labradors are very energetic, curious, and love to explore and follow scents. They have a great sense of smell which helps them with hunting, tracking and detection.  They are highly intelligent and capable of intense single-mindedness and focus if motivated or their interest is caught. They are powerful swimmers and are known for their ability to tolerate cold waters for extended periods of time.

Do not mistake their easygoing personality for low energy; they are an enthusiastic athlete and require exercise. Labradors will do best with an active household that is willing to give them a good balance of mental and physical stimulation and require at least 2 hours of exercise daily. Labradors thrive in company, adore extra attention and playing games with their owners. If left alone it is important to make sure they have stimulating dog safe chew toys as many Labs are happiest when they have something to gnaw on.

Labradors have a short, dense, weather-resistant double coat, so they shed twice a year, typically during spring and before winter. Ideally, they should be brushed at least once a week to improve shedding and bathed once a month.

Labradors will do well on a high-quality dog food that is high in fat and protein and low in carbohydrates. They like to eat so they can become obese without proper exercise leading to health problems. It is best to feed them twice a day and keep a feeding schedule. How much you feed will be dependent on their weight.

Size and Health:

Males Labrador Retrievers are 22-22.5 inches and weigh 65-80 lbs. Female Labrador Retrievers are 21.5-22 inches and weigh 55-70 lbs. Their life span is between 10-12 years.

Common health problems to be aware of: Hip Dysplasia, Luxating patella, eye problems (IE: retinal atrophy, cataracts, corneal dystrophy, and retinal dysplasia), Hereditary myopathy, autoimmune diseases, deafness, and exercise induced collapse.

Origins of the Labrador Retriever:

The Labrador Retriever dates to at least the 1830’s when St. John’s Water Dogs from Newfoundland were introduced to Britain from ships trading between Canada and Poole, England. These dogs were then bred with British hunting dogs to create what became known as the Labrador Retriever.

The Earl and Duke of Malmesbury used them in shooting sports and began to call them their “Labrador Dogs.” The name stuck, and the Earl’s son began breeding the dogs and by 1903, Labradors were recognized by the English Kennel Club. As the breed began to grow in popularity by the early 1900’s hunters and farmers from the United States had learned of the breed’s work ethic and began incorporating them into their daily lives.

The American Kennel Club recognized Labrador Retrievers in 1917.

FUN FACT: Labrador Retrievers were bred to be the perfect water dogs: They have water-resistant double coats that provide insulation, and their short fur keeps them warm but does not drag them down when it gets wet. Their webbed toes facilitate speedy swimming.

FUN FACT: Labrador retrievers are known for their ability to sprint. They can hit 12 mph in just three seconds.

FUN FACT: Labrador retrievers come from Newfoundland, not Labrador. In the 18th century, Greater Newfoundland dogs bred with smaller water dogs to produce St. John’s water dogs. These smaller canines looked a lot like modern day Labs, but with white muzzles and paws. The St. John’s water dog eventually went extinct, but it served as the ancestor for the Labrador retriever. 

FUN FACT: Regardless of the parents’ color, a single litter can include black, yellow, and chocolate puppies. There are two genes that cause the pigmentation of the coat, so the variation can be just as common as different hair colors in a human family.

 FUN FACT: In 1981, a black Labrador mix named Bosco won the election to be the honorary mayor of Sunol, Calif., beating out two human candidates for the job. Bosco ran as a “Re’pup’lican” and used the slogan “A bone in every dish, a cat in every tree, and a fire hydrant on every corner.” Bosco remained the honorary mayor until he died in 1994. 

Explore the Breed: German Shepherds

June 10, 2021

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At Salt Lake County Animal Services, we often see a variety of German Shepherd type dogs. You can see the available dogs on the adoptable pet’s page. For further information about an adoptable dog, please email

The German Shepherd is a medium to large sized working dog that originated in Germany in 1899 making it a relatively modern breed of dog. The breed was originally known as the “Alsatian Wolf Dog” in the UK from after the first world war until 1977 when its name was changed back to German Shepherd.

German Shepherds were developed originally as a working/herding dog for herding sheep. However, because of their intelligence, trainability, strength, and obedience they have become the preferred breed of dog around the world for many types of work. They are often trained to work in search and rescue, as police dogs, disability assistants and hold acting roles in the military.

There are variants of Shepherds, that are a variety of the German Shepherd.

The East-European Shepherd: bred in the former Soviet Union with the purpose of creating a larger and cold resistant version of the German Shepherd. This is one of Russia’s most popular types of dogs and lacks the physical deformities bred into the western show lines of German Shepherds.

King Shepherd: a variety of German Shepherd bred in the United States. The breeders of the King Shepherd did so in hopes of rectifying the physical deformities that have been bred into the original breed.

Shiloh Shepherd: Developed in the 1970’s and 80’s to correct behavioral and conformational issues bred into modern German Shepherds. Bred for Large size, length of back, temperament and better hips.

White Shepherd: Bred in the United States specifically for their coloration. This variety is recognized as a separate breed by the UKC.

White Swiss Shepherd Dog: Bred in Switzerland and descends from the American White Shepherd.

The color most associated with the German Shepherd is Tan and Black. They also come in white or black varieties. There are 11 colors of the German Shepherd Dog. These included the 3 color variations mentioned and sable, black and cream, liver, black and silver, black and red, bi-color, gray and blue. There is also an unusual color known as “Panda Shepherds,” liver, blue, and white.

What They Need:

German Shepherds are Loyal, diligent, and highly intelligent. They are often trained in workforce jobs because of their ability to learn commands, perform tasks and their willingness to defend loved ones.

German Shepherds can be good family dogs with proper training and socialization. They are ideal for an active household. They are known to be aloof around new people and may even be suspicious. Socialization with people and other animals is key in having a well-adjusted dog.

Because they are strong, agile, and often have a high energy level. Plenty of regular exercise is essential if you are going to own a German Shepherd. They need more than a daily walk. They need to run, play, have mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and pent-up energy. A dog that is bored will usually develop bad habits such as barking, digging, and chewing.

German Shepherds have coarse, sometimes wiry, medium length hair with thick undercoats. Their coats should be brushed every few days which can help to lessen their shedding. Their coat resists dirt and debris so they do not need to be bathed more than once a month. You do not want to bathe too often or it will strip the natural oil that keeps their coat healthy.

German Shepherds do best when fed two meals a day (up to 2 cups) this depends on size, activity level, age, and other factors of health. They are prone to bloating which can cause stomach torsion so providing 2 meals a day instead of one is best. It also is a good idea to have them eat out of a slow feeder or a maze bowl and have their food in a raised feeding station.

Size and Health:

Male German Shepherds are 24-26 inches tall and weigh 65-90 pounds. Female German Shepherds are 22-24 inches tall and weigh 50-70 pounds. Their life expectancy is 9-14 years.

Common health problems to be aware of:

Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Elbow Hygroma, Gastric dilation and Degenerative myelopathy.

Origins of the German Shepherd:

The German Shepherd originated in Germany in the late 1800’s. They were bred to be responsible for herding sheep and protecting flocks from predators. They were not considered to be pets or companions but rather work dogs for farmers. Their intelligence, speed, strength, and keen sense of smell gave them the skills necessary for herding sheep, but they differed significantly both in appearance and ability from one locality to another. To help fix these differences the Phylax Society was formed in 1891 with the intention of creating a standardized dog breed but disbanded after 3 years due to ongoing internal conflict regarding the traits of the dogs and what the society should promote. Some believed that they should only be bred for working and others thought they should also be bred for appearance.

In 1899 Max von Stephanitz (an ex-member) was attending a dog show and was shown a dog named Hektor. Hektor was the product of generations of selective breeding and completely fulfilled what Von Stephanitz believed a working dog should be. He purchased him immediately, changed his name to Horan Von Grafrath and formed the “Society for German Shepard Dogs.” Horand was declared to be the first German Shepherd Dog and the first to be added to the society’s breed register.

Horand became the centre-point of the breeding programs and although he fathered many pups, Horands most successful was Hector Von Schwaben. Hector produced Beowulf, who later fathered 84 pups, mostly by being inbred with Hektor’s off-spring.  In the original German Shepherd studbook, “Zuchtbuch für Deutsche Schäferhunde” there are four Wolf Crosses. Beowulf’s progeny also was inbred, and it is from these pups that all German Shepherds draw a genetic link. It is believed the society accomplished its goal mostly due to Von Stephanitz’s strong, uncompromising leadership and he is therefore credited with being the creator of the German Shepherd Dog.

FUN FACT: German Shepherds are considered the Third Most Intelligent Breed in the World

FUN FACT: The First Dog to Aid the Blind Was a German Shepherd

FUN FACT: The German Shepherd is the second most registered breed by the AKC and the 7th by The Kennel Club in the UK.

FUN FACT: A Sport Was Invented Specifically for German Shepherds called Schutzhund

FUN FACT: The breed was named Deutscher Schäferhund by von Stephanitz, literally translating to “German Shepherd Dog”. 

National Pet Foster Care Month

May 25, 2021

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Fostering a shelter pet is helpful for many different reasons! Here at Salt Lake County Animal Services, we see how dogs relax and become the dog they were meant to be while living in a foster home. This helps them get adopted faster.

When you foster a shelter pet it helps us learn so much more about our animals. The shelter can be a scary or overwhelming place for some animals. 

All of our animals come to us as strays so we don’t always know the answers to the questions adopters ask us: Are they house trained, good with other animals or children, what are their weird or quirky behaviors.

Fosters are also able to get better photos and videos of the shelter pet in a home environment, helping adopters see their true personalities. Some animals come to our shelter injured or sick, these animals recover and heal a lot quicker when they are in a foster home.

Kittens and puppies also need foster homes until they are at least 8 weeks old and 2 pounds before they can return to the shelter. These guys do not thrive in a shelter environment.

When you foster for us we can provide you with food, toys, enrichments, vaccinations and all of the medical care. You are required to provide a safe and loving home.

If you are interested in fostering a shelter pet you can email our foster coordinator at Or visit our Foster Information page for additional details. 

Dogs Are Too Cool For Hot Cars

May 12, 2021

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Keep your dog cool! In Utah, it can be freezing and raining in the morning and then heat up in the afternoon, making your car, yard, or patio, a dangerous place for your pet. A good rule of thumb is once it’s over 55 degrees outside, it’s too hot to leave your dog in your car.

Hot Weather Do’s & Don’t to Keep Your Dog Safe

Hot Cars: Once outside temperatures reach 70-degrees, temperatures in a car can exceed 116-degrees within 10 minutes. Even on a mild 75-degree day, cracking a window in your car or parking in the shade doesn’t make a difference. Temperatures inside the vehicle are deadly. Dogs can suffer from heatstroke, irreparable brain damage, or even death.

If you see a pet inside a vehicle, excessively panting, non-responsive, drooling, or listless, call Salt Lake County Animal Service’s Dispatch number immediately: 801-840-4000. Never break a window of a vehicle on your own to pull out a pet, you could be liable for damages. Take a photo of the pet, the license plate, and give that information to Animal Control Officers.

Hot Pavement: Dogs can burn their paws on the sidewalk in the summer. When in doubt test the surface yourself: place the back of your hand on the pavement. If you CAN’T stand the heat for FIVE seconds, it’s too hot for you to walk your dog. Walk your dog early in the morning, later in the evening, and leave them at home when heading to festivals or farmer’s markets.

Hot Balconies: Despite being covered, a balcony can get very hot, VERY fast. A dog left on a balcony may try to escape and injure themselves when they’re left alone and hot. A bowl of water is easily overturned, and the pet is left anxious, dehydrated, and in similar conditions as a hot car. If you see or hear a pet on a balcony that’s in distress call Animal Control: 801-840-4000.

For additional information please email

Petco Love Grant Awarded

May 10, 2021

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News Release: Salt Lake City, UT (May 10, 2021) – Salt Lake County Animal Services announces today a $10,000 grant investment from the newly named, Petco Love, to support their lifesaving work for animals in Salt Lake County.

Petco Love is a nonprofit leading change for pets nationally by harnessing the power of love to make communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. Since their founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, they’ve empowered organizations with $300 million invested to date in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. And, they’ve helped find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and more than 4,000 organizations, like ours, nationwide.

“Today Petco Love announces an investment in Salt Lake County Animal Services and hundreds of other organizations as part of our commitment to create a future in which no pet is unnecessarily euthanized,” said Susanne Kogut, President of Petco Love. “Our local investments are only one component. This month, we will also launch the first of our national tools to empower all animal lovers to drive lifesaving change right alongside us.”

“Salt Lake County Animal Services is very grateful for the support it has received from Petco Love. Receiving this grant will allow us to continue in our efforts to sustain low-income spay/neuters for the 1200+ pets sterilized in our clinic each year. By spaying/neutering a pet, we prevent hundreds of homeless animals from entering the shelter,” said Talia Butler, Division Director.

Salt Lake County Animal Services is committed to serving the animals and citizens in the cities we service with compassion and respect. With over 40 years of experience, Salt Lake County Animal Services is dedicated to a no-kill philosophy. The No-kill philosophy is based on the idea that all healthy and/or treatable animals can be saved and not euthanized. The national industry standards to determine a shelter’s no-kill status is 90% live release rate.

Animal Services began this commitment at the end of 2009. In 2013, the shelter achieved official no-kill status for the entire year, reaching 92% for the year. In 2019, we continued that trend with a live release rate of over 94% for the entire year. Live release means that of all the animals that come to the shelter, they are either returned home, placed with a loving family through adoption, or transferred to a qualified animal rescue organization.

To learn more about Petco Love, visit




About Salt Lake County Animal Services.

Salt Lake County Animal Services is always looking for innovative ways to provide better service to the citizens and animals we serve. We are largest “No Kill” municipal shelter in Utah and a flagship shelter for the Best Friends Animal Society’s “No Kill 2025” mission. Shelter staff from across the world visit Salt Lake County Animal Services to learn from the progress we have made here in our community. We are constantly making strides in the community because of the progressive programming we have implemented. Our goal is to create responsible pet ownership, help reduce the pet over-population problem and engage our community of adopters and pet owners. We are dedicated to providing superior support, education, protection, and advocacy for all animals and members of the community.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Petco Love (Formerly Petco Foundation)

Petco Love is a nonprofit changing lives by making communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. Since our founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, we’ve empowered animal welfare organizations by investing nearly $300 million in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. We’ve helped find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and organizations nationwide. Today, our love for pets drives us to lead with innovation, creating tools animal lovers need to reunite lost pets, and lead with passion, inspiring and mobilizing communities and our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners to drive lifesaving change alongside us. Is love calling you? Visit or follow at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to be part of the lifesaving work we’re leading every day.


Explore the Breed: Akitas

May 05, 2021

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Explore the Breed: Akitas

The Akita is a large breed of dog that originates from the mountainous regions of northern Japan. There are two types of Akita's. The Japanese strain known as the Akita Inu and the American known as Akita or American Akita, they have also been referred to as the Snow Country dog and the Great Japanese dog. The Japanese Akita Inu has a very narrow margin of colors while the American comes in all dog colors. The Akita's coat can be any color but often it is white, brindle or pinto. American Akita's generally are heavier boned and larger, with a more bear-like head. Japanese Akita's tend to be lighter and more finely featured with a foxlike head.

What Does an Akita Need?

Akita's are intelligent, stubborn, and courageous. They do not often back down from a challenge or frighten easily so it is very important for them to be well socialized with people and dogs from birth.

The Akita is a very loyal dog who is attached to its family. They are loving and protective of their families and even have a very silly and affectionate side with family and friends. They tend to be wary of strangers and can often be intolerant of other animals. They thrive on human companionship. They are hardwired to protect those they love.

They have moderate energy levels. While they need daily exercise and mental stimulation it does not need to be lengthy to get rid of excess energy, they can go on several brisk walks a day along with a few play sessions in the yard. While they are an athletic breed they can run out of energy and like to kick back.  They are happiest living in doors with their families and are not prone to barking, they can even be a good dog for someone living in an apartment if they are being given the opportunity for daily exercise and mental stimulation. While the Akita's coat is very hearty they should not be left outside for long periods of time whatever the weather (hot or cold). Akita's do not often manage alone time well and can become easily bored and develop destructive behaviors such as chewing. They are known to love the snow and enjoy having time to play in it.

Akita's require about 3-5 cups of a low calorie, high quality food daily split between two meals so they do not grow too fast. They have a thick double coat. It is a stiff, straight outer coat with a soft thick undercoat. They do shed at a high rate and will shed excessively about twice a year when they “blow their coat.” Weekly brushing will keep the coat healthy and decrease shedding. Brushing should be done more frequently during peak shedding seasons Spring and Fall. Akita's also can be known to drool, it is not a common trait but a possible one. They groom themselves like a cat, are clean and house training is not usually a problem.

Size & Health:

Male Akita's are typically 27” in height and 71-86 pounds. Females are typically 25” in height and 51-64 pounds when fully grown. The average life span for an Akita is 10-15 years.

Akitas are generally healthy but they can be prone to hypothyroidism, hip and elbow dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy.

Origins of the Akita:

The Akita originated in the snowy and rural lands of Akita and Odate, which are mountainous regions of Japan. They were trained to hunt elk, wild boar and Ussuri brown bears. During the 1600s, sadly, they were used for dog fighting. At that time, it was a popular sport in Japan.

The Akita served as companions for Samurai from the 1500s-1800s. During the 20th century Akita's were used during the Russo-Japanese War to track prisoners of war and lost sailors, some were used as scouts and others as guard dogs. They were also used in World War II and crossed with German Shepard’s to save them from a government order for all non-military dogs to be culled.  World War II almost pushed the Akita to the brink of extinction. They lacked nutritious food, and many were killed to be eaten by a starving humans. Akita pelts were used as clothing. The government ordered all remaining dogs to be killed on sight to prevent the spread of disease and the only way that owners could save their Akita's was to turn them loose in remote mountain areas were they were able to breed back their ancestor dogs.  Because of the cross breeding with the German Shepard, St. Bernard and Mastiff the Akita was in decline. They began to lose their Spitz characteristics and took on a look of drop ears, straight tails, loose skin, and a non-Japanese color (IE: black masks, and any color other than white, red, and brindle).  To restore the Akita breed a modern Japanese breed known as the Matagi and a Hokkaido Inu breed were used to mix back in the Spitz characteristics and restore the Akita breed. A man named Morie Sawataishi and his efforts to breed the Akita is a major reason why the Akita breed exists today.

The Japanese Akita has few genes from the western dogs and Spitz characteristics from the reconstruction of the breed taking place. The American breed of the Akita descends from the mixed Akita before the restoration of the breed and are typically mixed and not considered true Akita by Japanese standards.


FUN FACT: Akita's have webbed toes to help them walk on snow and distribute their weight more effectively.

FUN FACT: There is a tradition in Japan, that when a child is born, they receive a statue of an Akita. This statue symbolizes health, happiness, and a long life

FUN FACT: The story of Hachiko, the most revered Akita of all time, helped push the Akita into the international dog world and there is a bronze statue in the Shibuya train station in his honor. Every year on April 8th since 1936, Hachiko’s devotion to his master has been honored with a ceremony of remembrance at the Tokyo Shibuya railroad station.

FUN FACT: Helen Keeler is credited with bringing the Akita to America after being gifted two Akita's by the Japanese Government in 1938 after inquiring about Hachiko while on a visit to Japan.

FUN FACT: In 1931, the Akita was officially declared a Japanese National Monument.  In 1934 the first Japanese breed standard for the Akita Inu was listed and in 1967, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Akita Dog Preservation Society, the Akita Dog Museum was built to house information, documents, and photos.

FUN FACT: The American Akita was introduced in the UK in 1937. Australia in 1982 and New Zealand in 1986.

If you are interested in learning more about our adoptable animals please email

Tips On How to Greet a Dog: Prevent Dog Bites

April 23, 2021

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Warm weather is quickly approaching, as are gatherings with people and pets at parks, homes, and other locations. Salt Lake County Animal Services has some suggestions on How to Greet a Dog safely, whether it’s a dog you’re familiar with or one you’re meeting for the first time. Help your dog from being put in an uncomfortable situation with strangers, or even friends and family.

In 2020, Salt Lake County Animal Control Officers responded to over 650 bite calls and so far in 2021, nearly 200 bites. Help your dog from being put in an uncomfortable situation where they may bite strangers, or even friends and family. Dog bites occur for numerous reasons and reporting a bite is to ensure safety for the people and animals.

When you’re approaching a dog that you would like to pet but don’t know:

Step 1: Make sure the dog has a leash, a collar, and an owner. If it doesn’t, call Animal Control.

Step 2: Look at the dog’s body language. Look to see if it is a happy/relaxed dog. There are many      online resources that demonstrate dog body language.

Step 3: Ask permission from the Owner: “May I please pet your dog?” It is okay if the owner says no!

Step 4: If you have permission, do a quick body language check again.
Common mistakes:
-Putting your hand up to a dog’s nose. Dog’s do not need to smell your hand. 
-Leaning over the dog or put your face into the dog’s face

Step 5: Angle body slightly away from dog.

Step 6: Keep hands to yourself until the dog approaches you, seeking out interaction.

Step 7: Pet the dog calmly and quietly, avoiding sensitive areas.

Step 8: Remain standing if it is a large or medium sized dog. If it is a small dog, you can crouch down, making sure you are still not leaning over the dog.


Please visit our YouTube Channel for a video with more information or request a Dog Bogy Language presentation from our Humane Educator.

What should I do if I get bit by an animal?

For if the tooth breaks skin, you can report the bite incident to your local animal control. To report a bite, call Salt Lake County Animal Services Dispatch at 801-840-4000.

Why should I report the bite?

There are two reasons why bite reports should be filed. The first is rabies control. Our local public health authorities need to investigate if rabies could have been transmitted to the victim. Secondly, the health authorities track the data and trends in animal bites to people within the community.

Prevent Cruelty to Animals

April 09, 2021

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April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Month. Salt Lake County Animal Services believes cruelty to animals and humans should be prevented all year long. If you believe an animal is being abused, please contact your local Animal Control to report it. In 2019, Salt Lake County Animal Control Officers responded to 2400 cruelty calls, and an additional 1400 calls in 2020.  

How to Report Animal Cruelty

Call your Local Animal Control Dispatch. If you live in Salt Lake County, you can begin by calling Dispatch at 801-840-4000. 

Try to gather the following information before submitting a report of animal cruelty:

A concise, written, factual statement of what you observed—giving dates and approximate times whenever possible—to provide to animal control/ law enforcement.

Photographs of the location, the animals in question and the surrounding area. Note: do not put yourself in danger! Do not enter another person's property without permission, and exercise great caution around unfamiliar animals who may be frightened or in pain.

If you can, provide animal control/law enforcement with the names and contact information of other people who have firsthand information about the abusive situation.

It is possible to file an anonymous report, but please consider providing your information. The case is more likely to be pursued when there are credible witnesses willing to stand behind the report and, if necessary, testify in court.

Keep a record of exactly whom you contacted, the date of the contacts, copies of any documents you provided to law enforcement or animal control and the content and outcome of your discussion. If you do not receive a response from the officer assigned to your case within a reasonable length of time, make a polite follow-up call to inquire about the progress of the investigation.


Explore the Breed: Heeler Type Dogs

March 29, 2021

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Australian cattle dog VS Blue or Red Heeler:

There is no difference, they are the same dog. The term Blue Heeler, Red Heeler, Queensland Heelers or Australian Heelers is a reference to the color of the Australian Cattle Dog. There will always be different temperaments or personalities between individual dogs, but color has nothing to do with it. Now that we have that out of the way let’s talk about this breed of dog.

What Does a Heeler Need:

The heeler was MADE to herd and this is his/her “occupation” and a large part of the personality and temperament. After all, herding cattle is a big job. They are quick thinkers and can be stubborn. They can run fast, they are very agile, can change directions quickly and are tireless workers. While this makes them a wonderful “ranch hand” it can be very challenging for them to be a family dog.

Heelers are very intelligent dogs and are motivated. They need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation or they will become frustrated. Proper training is a must so that they learn they are not in charge of the “herd” (Pack, or family) but instead a member of it.  They would benefit from learning agility, disc or frisbee, hiking, running, or jogging. These are just a few suggestions to help keep your heeler mentally and physically stimulated. They need a “job” to do.

The Australian Cattle Dog is very loyal, loves to herd animals, they are typically good with young kids, you will just need to be aware; they may herd your children, it is after all their “job” and what they are bred to do. (They herd by nipping at the heels, this is where the term Heeler came from). They have a ton on energy, love to play and run and while they love their family due to their loyalty, they can be wary of strangers.

Size & Health:

If you are thinking of adding an Australian cattle dog/heeler to your family make sure you have done your research and that is the breed for you and your lifestyle.  They need a lot of exercise (2-3 hours per day) so if you are an outdoors exercise kind of person, they could make a great companion. A walk around the block is not going to do it for this breed. They typically live anywhere from 12-15 years. Males weigh in between 35-45 lbs and are typically 19 inches in height. Females weight ranges from 35-45 lbs and typically 18 inches in height. Due to them being cross bred they can have some potential health problems. Deafness, retinal atrophy, and hip dysplasia. It is important to make sure they don’t get wax buildup in their ears and their teeth are cleaned regularly.

Australian Cattle dogs/Heelers are intelligent, alert, courageous, watchful, reliable, trustworthy dogs who are bred to perform demanding tasks and are loyal to their owners and fiercely protective as a watchdog. They do not tend to be barkers and require ample opportunities for exercise.

If you are interested in viewing adoptable dogs from Salt Lake County Animal Services, you can view them HERE. For further questions email

FUN FACT: A true Australian Cattle Dog/Heeler is born with and all-white coat. Puppies will begin getting their color quickly and you can see their patterns emerge by 6 weeks.

FUN FACT: They have a dense double coat; they are equipped with an undercoat and overcoat that is water resistant and can keep them dry in the rain, the top layer acts as a wick. They shed the undercoat 1-2 times a year, so they do not require a lot of grooming, just occasional brushing, and bathing.

Origins of the Heeler:

During the early 1800’s British immigrants, who were cattle herders and had immigrated to Australia, found their Smithfield dogs were not holding up to the harsh conditions of the outback. The cattlemen began experimenting with a variety of dogs to come up with the perfect herding dog for the outback. After some failed attempts cattlemen mixed a Dingo (ideal working dog) with a Smooth Highland Collie which became the “Halls Heelers,” cattle men continued to refine the breed and added a Bull Terrier (determined nature), they then added a Dalmatian (affectionate and loyal to its handlers) and then the final piece of the cattle dog puzzle was a Black and Tan Kelpie (Enhanced working ability). This is what is now considered to be the Australian Cattle Dog.

FUN FACT: Bluey is officially the oldest dog ever recorded and verified for The Guinness Record. He lived to be 29 years and 5 months. This would make him 151 in dog years.

Explore the Breed: Husky Type Dogs

March 09, 2021

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So, you are considering a husky type of dog? Here at Salt Lake County Animal Services, we are seeing more and more huskies ending up in the shelter, hoping to be adopted.  Did you know that they rank 14 of 193 in breed popularity according to the American Kennel Club?   

We know this breed is beautiful and they have amazing markings, striking patterns, and eyes that are entrancing, but this is not the reason to pick the dog you are welcoming into your life and home. It is important to pick the breed that is best for you and your lifestyle.

What Does a Husky Need:
A Husky can be a great family dog, but this depends on you!

They need physical activity both to stay in shape, and to be happy. They love to be a part of the family and love their humans, but they do need socialization, training, and leadership.

They LOVE TO RUN!! They often do well with other animals but do have a high prey drive and may chase small animals: small dogs, cats, etc. Some are story tellers and others never sing you their song. They are known for their ability for great escapes because as we mentioned they LOVE TO RUN! They can be a fan of digging and can clear a fence. If not exercised properly they may also take it out on your furniture, door, garden, wall, and more. An obedient husky is an exhausted husky.

Huskies are loyal, intelligent, somewhat independent, outgoing, friendly, active and at times mischievous dogs and they like all breeds are not for every household. Do your research!

We believe a good match for a potential adopter is very important. No matter what breed you are interested in make sure you have done your research and you have the lifestyle and know-how for the dog you are bringing into your home. There are many great dogs looking for their second chance and a wonderful home. Check out our adoptable dogs. Do you have a husky type dog and need some help with their behaviors?  Or want to learn more about Huskies? Check out our monthly virtual Snow Dog Squad workshop with Arctic Rescue.

The Origins of the Siberian Husky:

They originated in Siberia and their ancestors were used for hunting that is until another use evolved, and they started teaching them to pull a sled with goods and food over long distances, commonly referred to now as Mushing.  Each tribe started breeding its own specific type which eventually evolved into distinct breeds that we now know today as the Alaskan Malamute, the Eskimo, the Samoyed, and the Siberian Husky to name a few.

They became sled dogs because tribes lived inland, and they often depended on the sea for their food source. They needed a way to get the food from the sea to the tribe. This is where the Siberian Husky enters the picture as a sled dog. They are tough enough to carry the weight over a long distance, they are smart, and they are dependable. All attributes needed for this task.

The Siberian Husky is typically medium sized. Their average height is 21-23.5 inches for Males and 20-22 inches for females. This is important to know before adopting to consider if you have the proper space to care for them.

They are quick and light on their feet, they are a working dog who loves a physical challenge and activity. They can be very serious and equally as playful.

Husky’s have an amazing combination of speed, power and endurance, because of this they need a home that will keep them active running, walking, giving them a job to do and providing daily activity to keep them happy and healthy and out of trouble. They have been known to be mischievous when they are bored.

FUN FACT: Did you know Siberian Huskies can run up to 28 mph and up to 150 miles a day when mushing with their pack!!

Siberian Huskies have double coats, it is medium in size and straight. They do require grooming and that is something an owner needs to consider.

FUN FACT: The Huskies tail is abundantly coated and is meant to easily protect its face from snow and wind when it is curled up on the ground. Remember they are accustomed to a lot of cold weather and like snow and cold temperatures.

Their life expectancy is typically 12-14 years on average. Keeping your husky active and engaging in needed physical activity can have a lot to do with this.

Celebrate National Walk the Dog (Pet) Day

February 22, 2021

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Celebrate your pets’ favorite activity, and walk them on February 22, 2021 as part of National Walk the Dog Day. Salt Lake County Animal Services wants to remind all pet owners to walk your dog on leash unless you are in a designated off-leash area, with a sign that says dogs can be off-leash. Also, don’t forget those pet-waste bags to clean up after your pup. You don’t want to be a nuisance.   


How & Why to Celebrate Walk the Dog Day:

  • Take your dog somewhere they’ve never been. They LOVE new smells.
  • Join a Virtual 5K or sign up to walk for your favorite rescue through other virtual apps such as WoofTrax.
  • Invite a friend and their pup to join you, and pack treats! Who doesn’t love a treat break for good behavior?
  • Walking reduces stress and anxiety in both you and your dog!
  • A walk everyday is great for your dog’s health, and yours.


For more information about laws regarding walking your pet on leash and cleaning up pet waste, visit the “Laws” section on our website for more information.

World Spay Day 2021

February 10, 2021

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If you look around the internet hard enough there is a day for everything!  Some are just for fun, some are local, and some of them are a really big deal – like WORLD SPAY DAY! World Spay Day is historically celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of February – so this year it is February 23rd.  You’re asking yourself, “Who celebrates a day that is all about removing the reproductive organs of pets?” Well, to that we say Salt Lake County Animal Services does, and so should you! 

The Doris Day Animal League (yes, that Doris Day) founded Spay Day USA in 1995 as a day to bring attention to the pet overpopulation problem in the United States and also to encourage animal population control by spaying and neutering pets. The movement later spread globally to over 70 countries and is now known as World Spay Day. Animal welfare agencies, rescue organizations, and even veterinarians worldwide celebrate and support World Spay Day as a day of awareness, a day of action, and a day of hope.  Hope that someday, with the help of the communities we support and serve, we can bring an end to the euthanasia of healthy and adoptable animals in our nation’s overcrowded shelters.

Here in Utah, we have an amazing animal welfare and rescue community that has been on this mission since 2008.  Thirteen years later, Utah is ALMOST a ‘No Kill State’ – the state is only 1% away from it being official!  Here at Salt Lake County Animal Services, we have been at or above the ‘No Kill’ metric since 2013. This achievement is due in no small part to the heroic efforts of our amazing veterinary staff. They are here seven days a week, 365 days a year, and every year for the last ELEVEN years our vet staff has averaged over 3,200 spay or neuter surgeries/year.  That’s almost 36,000 animals that are not able to reproduce and contribute to community animal and shelter overpopulation! 

Imagine how many animals have been spayed and neutered in the last eleven years by other organizations all over the country – that is an unfathomably huge number.  But still, every year shelters are being forced to euthanize over ONE MILLION ANIMALS in the United States alone. That number is WAY down from the estimated 2.6 million animals euthanized in 2011.

So how can you help? Every year in the United States 70,000 puppies and kittens are born.  Surveys of the pet owning community indicate that almost 60% of those litters are accidental.  If we were able to prevent all of those unwanted canine and feline pregnancies, we could prevent over 410,000 puppies and kittens every year!  We know that sounds like a huge task, and it is!  But, with our community’s help and diligence about getting your owned pets fixed, we are well on our way to a solution to our pet over-population problem.  But now you’re thinking “but puppies and kittens are SO CUTE!  We can just find homes for all of them, right?” We all wish that were always the case, but with over one million pets still being euthanized in shelters in the United States every year, we’re afraid it’s not.

Even though our shelter and many others in our community are ‘No Kill,’ there is room for improvement.  Here’s where you can help – please spay and neuter your pets BEFORE they have a litter!  If they’ve already had a litter, let us help you get them fixed before you find them new homes.  If you have already fixed your all of your pets, first of all – thank you, consider donating to our Spay & Neuter Fund so that we can continue to help those who need assistance in our community! 

So you want to get your pet fixed - where do you start?  Check with your veterinarian about getting your pet fixed today! Citizens in Salt Lake County can schedule their pets for spay/neuter surgeries at lower prices with our clinic ONLINE. These spots are for owned pets and licensing is required for animals within our jurisdiction with the spay/neuter appointment.  During the appointment, your pet will also be microchipped and vaccinated. 

What about the community cats, you ask?  Well, community cats in our jurisdiction are getting more attention than ever as well. We have added even more TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and SNR (Shelter-Neuter-Return) services to our jurisdiction and we are creating a Working Cat Program for cats that come to us and don’t especially want to live in households.  We are expanding programs to help other trappers, rescues, and veterinarians in our community too.  We realize that if we all work together as a team, we can bring the community cat population down and keep it under control.  You can help us with this goal too!  If you see community cats in need, please email our Community Cat Team at

Pet overpopulation can be prevented one pet at a time. 

Written by:
Randee Lueker/Rescue & Events Coordinator

Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthy

February 01, 2021

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cat health month

February is National Cat Health Month. It’s time to celebrate your feline friends and make sure they are happy and healthy! Here are some tips from Salt Lake County Animal Services to help you be a responsible pet parent:

1. Take your cat in for a vet visit
Yearly vet visits are a must for any cat owner. Cats tend to hide their illnesses until it is almost too late for them to recover. Yearly bloodwork and vaccines will help keep your feline friends healthy.

2. Keep your cat active
Cats tend to sleep most of the day but help keep them active by introducing them to new and different types of toys!

3. Prevent obesity
Obesity in cats can lead to other health issues including Diabetes. Ask your veterinarian how much and how often you should be feeding your cat. Keeping your cat active will also help prevent obesity.

4. Cuddle your cat
All cats enjoy “cuddling” in a different way. Some prefer to sit next to you on the couch while others want to always be in your lap. Give your kitties the type of affection they enjoy daily whether its chin scratches, cuddling under a warm blanket, or getting pets while sun bathing!

How Staff Care for Cats at the Shelter

At Salt Lake County Animal Services we monitor our cats closely and help keep them happy and healthy while they are waiting to find their furr-ever homes.
Every cat that comes into the shelter as a stray are examined by our Animal Care Specialists during the intake process. They are all weighed, vaccinated, and checked for a microchip. If any medical concerns are seen our veterinarians are notified.

Cats are monitored daily for the amount of food/water they are eating/drinking, their behavior, and urination/defecation. All senior cats have bloodwork sent to the lab after they are off of their stray hold.

All of our cats get fresh food and water a few times a day, different enrichment activities to keep their brains busy, and an extra designated afternoon nap time to keep them refreshed for visits with potential adopters. If you're interested in adopting check out our adoptable pets or if you would like to foster a cat, find out more about our foster program.


2nd Annual Cutest Couple Contest

January 29, 2021

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Cutest Couple 2021

Salt Lake County Animal Services is excited to announce its 2nd Annual Cutest Couple Contest! By couple we mean, you and your pet. Anyone who would like to participate is welcome. When the voting begins be sure to tell your friends and family because the "Cutest Couple" will win:

• A 1 night stay for you and your pet at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City
• $100 Visa gift card
• Personalized Gift Basket for your pet

How To Enter
A $10 donation is required to enter. Please follow the directions below:

1. Go to

2. Click "Donate" at the top of the page.

2. Enter $10 in the donation amount.

3. Fill out your contact information and submit your donation.

4. Email a photo of you and your pet to 1 photo per entry.

*All submissions are due no later than 5PM February 13th.

Things To Know
The winning couple will be determined by the number of votes.

Voting will be open to the public beginning February 16th at 10AM and will close February 28th at 5PM.

Every $1 counts as 1 vote and you can vote as many times as you want!

The couple with the most votes will win a 1 night stay at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City (winning pet welcome) and a $100 Visa gift card!

*If there is a tie between couples the winner will then be determined by the number of individual votes.

Questions? Email

This is a fundraiser sponsored by Salt Lake County Animal Services. All funds raised from this event will directly benefit the animals at our shelter.

2020's Long Term Resident: Dollar

January 14, 2021

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We are sure you have seen the term “Longest Term Resident” posted before when referring to an animal in a shelter. While some animals find new homes quickly, others sit and wait for their turn for months. This does happen from time to time at Salt Lake County Animal Services.

Each animal at the facility, no matter their length of stay, is provided daily enrichments, time outside (for dogs), music, oils, lights out hour (for quiet napping) and time to hang out with staff and volunteers. Enrichments for the dogs rotate daily from a frozen Kong, toys toys in their kennel, a food puzzle, a Nyla bone, etc. The cats receive lick mats, toys, and lots of treats. Each day both dogs and cats have a music hour, diffused oils and more.

These are essential components to help the animals in our care and are meant to provide enrichment short term while they are with us, but what happens when you have a “Long Term Resident” one that ends up being in the shelter for months, how do you help keep their minds active, and help them thrive in the kennel they call “home.”

Dollars' Story

This is the story of Dollar; he is one of many that have become “Long Term Residents” at the shelter. Dollar was found as a stray and brought into our facility March 17th, 2020, literally the week the world shut down. Dollar was scanned and had a microchip. We called the microchip company and the people had moved and changed numbers and did not update any of their information. We had hit a dead end. Dollar waited through the 7-day stray wait period and no one came in to redeem him, so Dollar was assessed and placed up for adoption.

Dollar was very young and handsome and seemed like a candidate for a quick adoption. This was not the case for Dollar, he became a “Long Term Shelter Resident” beginning his strange journey to his forever home.

Dollar was young and in need of manners and did not have great skills with other dogs in the shelter when we first met him. It was the first of the pandemic and staff was focused on trying to place dogs into foster homes as we were not sure what adoptions would like in the coming months. Dollar was one of over 88 animals that was lucky enough to find a foster home.

Dollar’s foster home invested a lot of time and energy into working with him and teaching him better manners and within a couple of months had decided to adopt him. Unfortunately, this is not were the story ends. His adopter had bought a new house and on either side were dogs and people who had breed bias, Dollar is a Staffordshire Terrier (AKA: a “Pit Bull”) after much consideration and knowing that the odds may largely be stacked against them in their new neighborhood, they returned Dollar.

Dollar then waited and waited for someone to make him a part of their family.

While Dollar waited, he was growing up in the shelter and the staff became his family and as such began teaching and training Dollar. Dollar needed daily enrichments to help him work his mind and keep him busy. Staff members created a training plan for him to help him learn how to walk on a Halti properly, basic manners and to be muzzle trained.  He excelled with all his training and high fives were his favorite command to give.

Dollar had been advertised on social media many times and had developed a fan club of sorts, people who loved him and wanted to see him succeed but unfortunately could not adopt him themselves. Just like many times before we listed Dollar on social media, but this time let people know that Dollar had been in the shelter nearly 200 days and that was far too long to live in the shelter. This day, this post, it went VIRAL! It was all over the internet. Over 3.000 shares. One of the shares went onto a page of a person who stepped forward and claimed to be Dollars owner after 7 months in the shelter. 

Remember we told you he was microchipped? They never updated their information when they moved so we were never able to contact them and let them know he had ended up at the shelter.

After 7 months and very long conversations, Dollar was heading home. Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. After 3 weeks back in the care of his previous owners they contacted us and said they were not capable of taking care of Dollar and wanted to return him. While we were very sad to hear this, we were grateful that they had reached out to us.

Dollar was a part of our family and we had grown to love him and had invested a lot of time and training into him.  Once again Dollar was looking for a home that could meet his needs and want to make him a part of their life.  After all he had been through, we had to become very strict about the person who would come in to meet him.

Poor Dollar had become a “Long Term Resident” and had a lot of cards stacked against him for adoption. He was not the perfect fit into any home, and that is sometimes very hard for people to understand, and for adopters to understand why it is that organizations have the rules they do. As an organization we always want what is the best for the animals in our care and the potential adopters who will be welcoming them into their family. We knew that Dollar’s time would come, he would find that perfect fit. In the meantime, we continued our trainings with him. 

On December 4th, 2020, Dollar met his person, the one who took to heart each thing we knew about Dollar, the one who understood he is a great boy who will still need structure, training, and dedication, the one who came in and fell in love with Dollar and all he had to give. 262 days after he first came into the shelter, Dollar found his forever home. We have received updates and his new dad loves him, is committed to continued Dollar’s training and we are happy to see that he is succeeding in his new home.

Long Term Shelter residents are not always common to find in a shelter, but it does happen and thanks to dedicated staff, volunteers, and a supportive community, it’s why dogs like Dollar have a happy ending.

If you would like to learn more about our enrichment program and the items needed please look at our wish list.

If you are interested in volunteering please email: for more information

If you are interested in fostering please email for more information

If you are interested in adopting, please visit our Adoptable Pets page to see our available animals.

Senior Life: Dashielle

January 11, 2021

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Dashielle senior pet

We would like to take a moment and celebrate one of our cat adoptions from 2020. Often at Salt Lake County Animal Services, a pet will enter our shelter after their owner passes away. This is what happened in Dashielle’s case.

In May of 2020, Dashielle, an 11-year-old, neutered male, arrived at the shelter after his owner passed away. Upon examination, Dashielle needed quite a bit of medical care for kidneys that were not fully functioning, and a dental to clean his teeth.

Dashielle spent 5 months in the shelter waiting for his new home until he was adopted in October 2020. He spent most of his time at the shelter sleeping or hiding from the other cats, but he did enjoy celebrating Halloween at the shelter!

He is now living in a wonderful home where he gets to wear all the sweaters he wants! Dashielle loves going on walks with his harness, cuddling with his dog siblings, and laying out in the sun. He is a very relaxed happy cat.

Thank you to Dashielle’s adopter for giving this boy a second life in a new home. If you’re interested in adopting a senior pet (over 5-years-old), and you are over the age of 55, we will waive the adoption fee as part of our Senior to Senior program. Senior pets often have a lot of life left in them and will make great companions.


2020 at a Glance

December 23, 2020

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2020 End of Year

Salt Lake County Animal Services is the largest, lifesaving (no-kill) municipal shelter in Utah. In 2020, we helped over 11,500 animals. We cared for a variety of pets including: cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, chickens, goats, pigs, reptiles, birds & small mammals.

Salt Lake County Animal Services in 2020:

  • 11,500 pets were cared for or received services from Animal Services.
  • 3,400 owned pets received food from the Pet Crew Pantry
  • 1,850 pets were returned to their owners
  • 2,600 pets were adopted or sent to a rescue
  • 2,500 pets were spayed/neutered by the on-site clinic

As we wrap up 2020, the Staff at Salt Lake County Animal Services want to share some of this years successes with you.

When the pandemic hit, our staff had to adjust to a new way of operating. We broke into smaller teams to ensure that we would always have healthy employees to feed and care for the animals at our shelter and also to continue to respond to animal control calls and emergencies.

At the beginning of the pandemic, some of our staff were reassigned in the county to help the Health Department organize the supplies coming in, that had to be disbursed to the homeless population living in hotels with Covid-19. We also coordinated the care of pets for individuals who we’re suffering from COVID-19 with no other resources. 

Our clinic was mandated to put all non-essential surgeries on hold, including spay/neuter, while they're was a shortage of PPE. But they were still busy caring for sick and injured animals that came to the shelter. In May they had a backlog of several hundred animals that were living in foster-to-adopt homes, that needed to be sterilized.

In April, our staff could see that there was a very real need to help feed the pets in the community. Our team applied for grants and sought out donations to help secure pet food for those who would sacrifice their own meal to feed their pets and their children. We have held 9 Pet Crew Pantries since May.

Thank you to our community who has stepped up to help us throughout the year. The threat of Covid-19 will still be with us in 2021 and we will still be operating on an appointment only basis in the building for the foreseeable future. We appreciate your understanding so we can keep both our staff and the public safe. We also appreciate the unwavering support YOU give which helps us care for the pets in the shelter and throughout our community. 

If you would like to make a year-end donation to help pets that enter the shelter in 2021, please visit our donations page. Or contact for assistance. 

Thank you,

Staff at Salt Lake County Animal Services

15 Holiday Safety Tips

December 10, 2020

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pet safety holidays

The holiday season is upon us and the best gift for your pet and you would be to prevent a holiday disaster. Here are 15 pet safety tips from Salt Lake County Animal Services.

Even with this year’s changes in our schedules and so many people working from home, you may not notice what your pet is up to, if they snuck a “toy” off the Christmas tree and swallowed it. Maybe you had to run a quick errand and come home to presents under the tree torn, or the tree toppled over.

Pet parents need to be especially diligent during the holidays. Decorating the house with holly and mistletoe are common, however, these can prove fatal for pets. Even plants like amaryllis and daffodils are toxic for pets.

Here are a few good tips to make sure your pup is safe.
1. Anchor your Christmas tree securely so pets can't knock it over.

2. Get a Faux tree: An artificial tree is much safer for your pets.

3. Don’t decorate the bottom part of the tree. This could prevent your dog from being enticed to reach those easy to grab ornaments.

4. Block off the Christmas tree by using a pet gate in front of it.

5. Avoid glass ornaments. Glass ornaments can easily break and your pet could eat the glass.

6. Be careful of the water in the Christmas tree stand, stagnant water can contain bacteria.

7. Keep wiring and extension cords out of reach. You do not want your pet to become tangled, bite the wires, or pull them off.

8. Keep wrapped gifts and wrapping paper out of reach. If your pet eats wrapping paper it can cause an upset stomach or even worse, a blockage.

9. Chocolate is a very popular Christmas treat but can be very toxic to your pet.

10. "No" to table scraps. Not only can this cause unwanted behaviors (begging) but it can be unsafe to your pets and cause medical problems.

11. Keep an eye on your dough if baking and do not give your pets cooked bones they can easily splinter and cause dental damage as well as internal perforations.

12. Monitor entrances in snowy weather and make sure that no ice melting chemicals are tracked in on your shoes; they are very toxic to dogs.

13. Ensure all children are familiar with your pets and know how to interact with them safely.

14. Do your best to keep your normal schedule. Animals thrive on routine. Make sure to keep as close as you can to their normal routines of feeding, sleeping and walking.

15. Make sure that your pets’ new toys are size appropriate and monitored to make sure they do not chew or swallow small pieces.

Most of all have a very Happy and Safe Holiday and a Happy New Year.
Homemade Dog Treats are the best way to show your pet that you love them like family! These Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats are an easy dog biscuit recipe that your fur baby would request every week if they could.

If you are interested in adopting one of our wonderful pets waiting to find their forever home, please visit to view our available animals.

If you are opening your home to a pet in need and fostering please email for more information on our foster program.