Deborah Mandich-Nowland | Jeff Manes~for Sun-Times Media
At a glance
For descriptions and photos of animals available at Lake County Sheriff’s Animal Adoption & Control Center go to www.lcac.petfinder.com or www.facebook.com/lcacc. Phone 769-7016.
Updated: February 20, 2014 6:17AM
“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
— Jack London
My interview with Deborah Mandich-Nowland took place at the Lake County Sheriff’s Animal Adoption & Control Center at 2293 N. Main St., Crown Point. She is the director there.
Mandich-Nowland also lives in Crown Point with her husband, Scott Nowland. They have raised four adult children.
Does the constant sound of dogs barking drive you crazy?
“I don’t hear a thing,” she said.
Where were you born?
“In Gary. I grew up in the Tolleston neighborhood and graduated from Andrean High School.
In 1959, my dad, Peter Mandich ran for sheriff against a man by the name of Peter Mandich who was the mayor of Gary at one time. When people voted, the other guy was Mandich I and my father was Mandich II. My dad lost the election, but had a good job at American Bridge Works. My grandparents were from Yugoslavia.”
“I like to go fishing with my husband in his boat, but taking care of these animals is like a 24-hour job. When needed, I’ll come back in the evenings to give animals their medications. It takes up a lot of my time.”
How long have you held this position?
“Since 2011. I was a correctional officer for the Lake County Jail for eight years before that. And before that, I was a deputy sheriff. We are the ones in uniform at trials. I did that for 10 years. Prior to being in the court system, I was in the Motor-Carrier Division of the Indiana State Police for four years.”
Interesting. Is this a no-kill facility?
“Yes, our mission is that every animal has a chance to be placed into a loving home and that every lost animal is reunited with its owner. We’re also committed to reducing pet overpopulation and educating the public about the importance of spay and neutering.”
Do you get abused animals?
“Sometimes, yes. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is involved in taking action to stop the abuse of helpless animals.”
“Yes, the public will bring them to us, saying, ‘This dog was sitting on the curb in front of my house’ or ‘I found this cat under my porch.’”
“My assistant, Yvonne Scott, takes the animals’ pictures and posts them on our Facebook page saying this dog was lost and is at our shelter. A lot people come here to pick up their lost dogs. The Facebook page is a great thing. We have more than 8,000 friends on Facebook.”
Typical day on the job?
“We arrive in the morning, take the dogs out, clean their kennels and feed them. There are towels and bowls to wash. There is kitty litter to change. The first thing we do when an animal comes in is make a folder for it; this helps us keep track of the animals. The next step is vaccines.
“Besides Yvonne and I, there are five part-time employees and volunteers who come in and walk dogs. We also have inmates from the Lake County Work Release Program who help us.”
That’s a good thing.
“I can’t say enough about the entire staff. Our dedicated volunteers not only participate in socializing cats and dogs, they work on special projects and fund raisers. Yvonne gets here long before we’re open to the public.”
How many dogs and cats can you house at a time?
“About 35 dogs and 40 cats. We send pets to rescues when our facility is overcrowded.”
Best part of the job?
“Reuniting the pets with their families. It’s a heartwarming event. We returned 115 animals to their original owners last year.”
In 2013, how many animals were brought to LCACC ?
“We took in 720 animals last year.”
How many were adopted?
“Exactly 576. That’s what I love about working for a no-kill shelter. You know that you put that animal in a loving home when someone else either threw it out or just didn’t want to take care of it anymore. We’re the voices of these animals because they cannot speak for themselves.”
Deborah Mandich-Nowland has two dogs of her own. Bo, a terrier-mix, and Teddy, a poodle-mix, are former residents of Lake County Sheriff’s Animal Adoption & Control Center.