Animal Resource Center named Agency of the Year for 2020

The Ohio County Dog Wardens Association (OCDWA) has named the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center (ARC) the 2020 Agency of the Year. The award recognizes animal control agencies for participation in training programs, innovative public education programs, active community involvement, and participation in and support of OCDWA functions.

“Our Animal Resource Center has made tremendous strides in the last few years,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge. “The investments we’ve made in the ARC, with training and outreach program development, and the extra effort to quickly get lost dogs returned to their homes, have really paid dividends. I’d like to thank the Ohio County Dog Wardens Association for recognizing the hard work of our staff with this award.”

The Animal Resource Center has built several training programs in recent years. The Animal Awareness Program is designed for dog owners who have received a minor misdemeanor citation and is offered as an alternative to going to court for the offense. The class trains on the benefits of spaying and neutering, dog laws, safety, and other pet ownership essential knowledge.

Other programs include training for postal carriers within the City of Dayton, outreach to police departments in Montgomery County, and involvement with various neighborhood associations.

The Agency of the Year Award also recognizes the efforts at the animal shelter to improve the live release rate. Prior to 2018, annual live release rates ranged from 50-60 percent. That number increased to 88.6 percent in 2019 and is on track to be over 90 percent in 2020.

“Our Animal Resource Center has made an incredible turnaround,” said Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert. “In 2018, we hired Team Shelter U.S.A. to take a critical look at our operations and procedures. What they reported back to us, frankly, was hard to hear. We not only acknowledged but embraced that feedback. We took all their suggestions to heart, outlined steps to meet those recommendations and state requirements, and every day the ARC staff worked hard to meet those objectives while ensuring transparency to the public. I’m very proud of where we are now.”

The award was announced Dec. 10 at the annual OCDWA meeting held virtually in conjunction with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio.

“It was unfortunate that the association members were not available in person to applaud the Animal Resource Center staff for their accomplishments in a difficult year for all agencies across the state,” said Dave Shellhouse, President of the OCDWA. “The OCDWA wishes the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center continued success.”

The Montgomery County ARC takes in thousands of dogs each year and works hard to reunite lost dogs with owners, adopt unwanted or abandoned dogs into new homes, and protect the public from dangerous animals.

“It’s a great honor to receive this award,” said Robert Gruhl, Animal Resource Center Director. “We have a hard-working and dedicated staff, and they’ve shown commitment to community education, protecting the public, and saving the lives of so many dogs in our communities. We don’t intend to rest on our laurels. We are going to keep coming up with innovative ways to improve the health and wellbeing of these dogs.”

The Animal Resource Center is primarily funded through the sale of Montgomery County dog licenses, which are on sale through the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office at