Johnson County Animal Shelter seeks adopters amid record-long animal stays

When a 2-year-old American Pitbull Terrier mix first came to the Johnson County Animal Shelter one year ago, officials thought he would only be there for a short while.

Now on the first anniversary of his arrival, officials are hoping someone will give Tubbs a good home soon.

Tubbs, now 3, has set a record at the Johnson County Animal Shelter as he now has the longest stay for a dog at the shelter ever. Today marks one year since he arrived at the Franklin facility after being surrendered.

Having a dog stay this long at the shelter is unusual, said Cari Klotzsche, director.

“In my 12-and-a-half years, the longest we’ve had a dog before him was six months,” Klotzsche said.

“Which even that was unheard of. So a year, we don’t do that here,” shelter manager Mary Katherine Smith added.

Tubbs was surrendered to the shelter last year after Tubbs and another dog got into a fight, with one of the dogs — it’s unclear who — biting their owner. Despite this incident, there have been no other fights between Tubbs and other dogs, and in fact, he’s been “really good” with other dogs at the shelter, Klotzsche said.

He also loves the staff, rubber squeaky toys and blankets and burrowing under them. He’s been around birds, guinea pigs and chinchillas at his old home and ignored them too, she said.

He’s very active and found ways to entertain himself at the shelter too, even playing with the gate to let him go outdoors, Klotzsche said.

For most of his time at the shelter, Tubbs has done really well. But recently, staffers began to notice a change as he’s started to struggle more in the shelter.

Tubbs is starting to jump more. He doesn’t want people to leave him after they take care and play with him, so he tries to stop them from leaving, Klotzsche said.

“One day I was opening the door and he hit the door and slammed it. I was like, ‘I have to go,’ but then you just throw treats down and he goes and finds them and you’re fine,” she said. “But he is struggling more in the shelter, so we’re hoping to find him a home quickly.”

Dogs are not meant to stay in the shelter for as long as Tubbs has. They do not have enough staff to take them out for walks every day, as an example, she said.

“It’s just not good for him, so we’re not surprised that he’s starting to get a little frustrated,” Klotzsche said. “It’s not aggression at all; it’s just he’s really jumpy, and you can tell he’s getting kind of depressed.”

Tubbs is not the only dog who’s been at the shelter longer than usual. Sir, a 2-year-old Anatolian/Great Pyrenees mix, is just behind Tubbs with 10 months at the shelter.

Sir has a slight leg/hip deformity, and while it doesn’t bother him now, it could require extra care as he gets older. This could be a turnoff for some people, Smith said.

The animal shelter is seeing more situations like Tubbs’ and Sir’s. The average time for dogs to get adopted has increased too.

“People aren’t adopting. Rescues aren’t pulling because people aren’t adopting,” Klotzsche said.

They also have a lot more dogs under their care than they did three or four years ago.

Around the time Klotzsche took over as director in 2022, the number “blew up,” she said. At the time, the shelter had a capacity for around 40-42 and had about 20 dogs under their care, Smith said.

“We were half-full. We were like, ‘What’s going on?’” she said.

Now the shelter usually has 60 dogs. They technically have space for only 48, but they did purchase eight additional pop-up kennels and have some dogs in other rooms too, Smith and Klotzsche said.

This is on top of the other animals the shelter houses — cats, rabbits, birds and even ferrets, they said. A lot of rescues come and take the cats, and while they don’t get a lot of adoptions for them either, the cats can be moved out of the shelter faster, Klotzsche said.

The dogs remain at the shelter, which is the same throughout the industry, Smith said. It’s just the climate, Klotzsche said.

Because the shelter is at capacity, they even have a waiting list for surrenders. If someone tries to surrender a dog and they have not empty kennels, the dog has to be euthanized, she said.

Unless it’s a safety issue where a dog attacks someone, for example, people are put on the waitlist, Klotzsche said. They also try to give them resources to re-home their dog during the wait, she said.

As for Tubbs and Sir, if they are not adopted, the animal shelter will have to find a rescue to take them in to be fostered, Klotzsche said. Both dogs are fully vaccinated, neutered and heartworm-negative.

Those interested in adopting Tubbs or Sir can email the shelter at [email protected] and ask for an application, or pick up an application in person at the shelter, 2160 N. Graham Road, Franklin. They can also call the shelter at 317-736-3924 or 317-738-6090.

After this, the person will be asked to come in and spend time with the dog to make sure they are a good fit for each other, Klotzsche said.

“We want to make sure they’re a good fit for him as well because we don’t want to send them and two days later him come back because it wasn’t a good fit,” she said.

The cost to adopt a dog is $150, Klotzsche said.


Name: Tubbs

Age: 3

Sex: Male

Breed: American Pitbull Terrier Mix

Likes/dislikes: Loves blankets and burrowing under them. Loves squeaky toys.

Time in shelter: One year

Other information: Tubbs is very active and seeks a family who can handle this. He can be around other dogs and small animals like birds, guinea pigs and chinchillas. It is unknown how he will interact with cats or children since he hasn’t before.


Name: Sir

Age: 2

Sex: Male

Breed: Anatolian/Great Pyrenees mix

Likes/dislikes: He is not “super interested” in toys, but is interested in what people are doing.

Time in shelter: 10 months

Other information: Sir has a slight leg/hip deformity, which could require extra care as he gets older. He is laid back and enjoys cuddling with people. It is unknown how he will do with other animals or children.