Shelter dog-walkers given many new rules

Volunteers at the Huntington Animal Shelter are back in the dog-walking business.

As a precaution, the Town of Huntington last month temporarily stopped allowing shelter volunteers to walk dogs after a volunteer was bitten by a pit bull.

The unidentified volunteer did not notify town officials of the bite, town spokesman A.J. Carter said.

A meeting last month between town officials and the League of Animal Protection, which provides the volunteers, produced an updated agreement that they must sign before they are allowed to walk dogs.

Among the new rules: Walkers must immediately report any injury to an animal control officer on duty or other assigned shelter employee; all injuries must be documented in writing; volunteers have to sign in and out each time they come to the shelter, and must enter and leave through the front door.

The rules also stipulate shelter staff will determine which volunteers walk specific dogs; new volunteers must complete a course on procedures; and the hours volunteers are allowed to walk dogs have been reduced by one hour each day.

Failure to follow the rules will lead to loss of privileges at the shelter as well as at the League for Animal Protection. The League could not be reached for comment.

"This will address the concerns the town had and some of the issues that arose because of the particular incident that was not reported," Carter said Tuesday. "It will ensure the safety of the volunteers and the dogs."

The shelter, on Deposit Road in East Northport, has about 45 dogs in need of homes. For information about adopting, call 631-754-8722.

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