WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Walton County Animal Services is instituting some updates to the Animal Control Ordinance.

Commissioners approved the changes this week. Their goal is to reduce overcrowding and illness in the shelter.

There are two major changes to the Walton County Animal Control Ordinance.

“A 3-day stray hold, so having said that we have a 7, we don’t count the day they come in, we are going to a 3-day stray hold so not counting the day they come in once they are posted,” Walton County Animal Shelter Supervisor Patricia Weingartner said.

If you know the shelter has your animal all you need to do is call the shelter.

They will hold the animal until you are able to come and get them.

“We definitely will hold it a little longer, so I don’t want anyone to panic, we are not going to move your dog or your cat anywhere we want it to be returned to its home, its rightful home,” Weingartner said.

The change will keep moving animals out of the shelter, it also means less exposure to shelter illnesses.

Any animal not claimed after three days will go up for adoption or be moved to a rescue.

“We have a lot of animals and the space is what it is and we do our very best to get them out, to find them homes, to keep their whole time at a shelter shorter,” Weingartner said. “So this is going to help us move animals quicker.”

The other change involves microchipping all impounded animals if they aren’t already.

Microchips help the shelter reunite animals and owners sooner.

The chip allows the shelter to scan the animal for the owner’s phone number.

“If the animal has been here before if they are one of those escape artists, they get out, as hard as you try, they do get out if they get here before they even get here our animal control officers will be scanning in the field and returning in the field, so they won’t even come to the shelter,” Weingartner said. “So microchipping is a big thing getting your animals back to you.”

Weingartner hopes the changes keep more animals out of the shelter and in their forever homes.

Walton County Animal Services plans to post all changes to the ordinance to their website.