- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - An animal shelter is asking “Pokemon Go” players to walk an adoptable dog as they wander the streets of an eastern Indiana city doing battle with digital monsters on their smartphones.

The idea is the brainchild of Phil Peckinpaugh, superintendent of Muncie Animal Shelter. He noticed people shuffling along as they played the addictive game and thought “it would be awesome” if they each had a dog to walk.

Peckinpaugh posted the idea on Facebook, asking: “Trying to Hatch an Egg or Catch Rare Pokemon? Come down to the Muncie Animal Shelter to walk one of our dogs while you get your steps in! Just come to the front desk and say you are here for the Pokemon dogs!” His post was widely shared.

“This is a great way to get more volunteers in and helping them (the dogs) get the exercise that they need,” said Adrienne West, who drove 45 minutes from Upland to walk a 3-year-old pit bull named Maya as she tried to catch a weedle - a larva Pokemon character.

Peckinpaugh says he bought 20 new leashes to cope with the increase in demand, which is fortunate because 73 “Pokemon Go” players heeded the call Wednesday and turned up to exercise hounds, including one who adopted a dog.

“I hope this ‘Pokemon Go’ isn’t something that lasts a couple weeks,” he said. “I hope the shelter becomes a hot spot.”

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