Animal Shelter schedules staff for third shift and they love it

Local News

It might be the best job for animal lovers.

The Knox County Humane Society recently started scheduling to work the third shift.

Employees are not alone even though they sleep through most of the shift.

They’re often joined by a dog at their feet.

The shelter is getting ready for a new Illinois law that goes into effect in the new year.

Illinois is the first state in the country to take the step creating an Animal Welfare Law.

It’s in response to a fire at an animal shelter in Chicago early this year where nearly 30 dogs were killed inside.

This new law is designed to prevent that.

When it was announced, the Knox County Humane Society said at first they were concerned because it would be another expense, but now say they’ve found a way to turn lemons into lemonade.

Third shift employee Joshua Miller said, “Sometimes they’ll even roll over and shake your hand or play with you.”

That bond can be seen every night, not in the bedrooms of Lucas Barton and Joshua Miller, but the Galesburg shelter.

Miller said, “When they come into the room, they know it’s time to lay down.”

It’s part of their preparations for Illinois’ new Shelter Animal Welfare law.

Volunteer Shelter Director Erin Buckmaster said, “Where else can you sleep on the job and get paid.”

The volunteer shelter director said they looked at their options which include an alarm system directly alerting first responders or sprinklers throughout the building.

Buckmaster said, “We thought none of those would truly help the pets. Maybe a little bit because by the time the firemen got here, maybe they wouldn’t know where to let the animals out.”

So they decided on choice three, which while has a bit more of an expense is proving to be the best option.

Third shift employee Lucas Barton said, “Tell that they’re a lot happier, a lot more happier and cheery than what they were the night before or day before.”

That effort goes a long way so these dogs can get adopted by teaching social skills.

Miller said, “This is King. He was owner surrendered. When he was brought in, he was super thin. Aggressive towards everybody. Always had a lease in his mouth, and now you see how he is. He’s totally fine.”
Buckmaster said, “A lot of them get really sad after they’ve been here a while. We’ve had some dogs that have been here for over a year.”

But until man’s best friend finds a home where they have a permanent bed for sleep, they’ll find company at nighttime with a friend at the shelter.

Miller said, “Honestly, I would do it without the money.”

The Humane Society has stopped doing laundry at the shelter to reduce the risk of fire.

They also have about 40 security cameras on-site to monitor activity.

They also told Local 4 News in case of an emergency, this way the overnight staff can also reach other employees to be on standby, rather than waiting on first responders to contact them.

Also, the animals are more comfortable with the staff and that can help get them to safety.

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