Sunday, August 24, 2014

War on dog wardens

The Licking County Ohio animal shelter has achieved the enviable live-release rate of 91%; in other words, for every 100 dogs admitted to the shelter ninety-one are either returned to their owners, adopted out or transferred to nonprofit rescue groups. In Licking County these groups include the Licking County Humane Society, Second Chance Humane Society of Johnstown, and Stop the Suffering of Heath rescue organizations.

According to industry standards any shelter with a live-release rate of 90% or more qualifies as a "no-kill" facility, the goal aspired to by hundreds of shelters across the country. But Licking County's live-release rate is not good enough for Andrea Langley and other local pit bull advocates, who organized a rally on August 12th.

Ohio state law requires animals to be held at least 72 hours before possible euthanasia. Licking County dog warden John Silva said his shelter doesn't euthanize stray dogs for at least five days, with the average being six days. This isn't good enough for Ms Langley and Ja'ney Stoolfire.

Despite this outstanding record Ms. Langley has accused the local shelter of euthanizing every pit bull entering LCAS after 3 days.1 They're taking a shotgun approach to pit bulls, said Langley.

Ohio pit bull advocates have established a pattern of attacking county dog wardens for euthanizing pit bulls.2 Tom Skeldon was forced out of his job in 2010 by Jean Keating of the Lucas County Pit Crew. This spring Joe Rock was forced out of his job as Franklin County warden by Elizabeth Lessner. Now it appears that advocates are attempting a similar coup in Licking County.

But Ms Langley may have overplayed her hand when she threatened Tim Bubb, Doug Smith, and Duane Flowers, the Licking County Commissioners, with their own job security. Your jobs as county commissioners may depend on it, she informed them.

The high-pressure gambit has worked for pit bull advocates before in Ohio; we will soon see if the Licking County Commissioners have the fortitude to manage the county animal shelter, or if they cede their authority and responsibilities to the local pit bull advocates.

* * * * *
1  Stop euthanizing every pit bull entering LCAS after 3 days.Allow them to be adopted. Allow rescue orgs access to any pit bull. ( petition by Andrea Langley)
2  In other Ohio shelter news, the warden in Van Wert county was fired, a former warden as well as the current warden and his assistant in Gallia county were charged with animal cruelty, and a suit was filed against the Hocking county shelter. The Ohio SPCA's decade-long campaign to eliminate gassing in county animal shelters has turned needlessly adversarial. Gallia County Dog Warden Paul L Simmers was charged with 32 violations for alleged crimes that happened between March 2012 and February 2014. On June 17 Mr Simmers pled 'No Contest' to the charges, but gave a statement to saying, "I was not involved in the killing of the 11 dogs. I was the one that reported it to the commissioners."

SRUV uses the definition of "pit bull" as found in the Omaha Municipal Code Section 6-163. As pit bulls are increasingly crossed with exotic mastiffs, Catahoula Leopard Dogs and other breeds, the vernacular definition of "pit bull" must be made even more inclusive.

Sources cited by news media sometimes refer to "Animal Advocates" or sometimes "Experts." In many cases these words are used to refer to single-purpose pit bull advocates who have never advocated for any other breeds or species of animals. Media would be more accurate to refer to these pit bull advocates as advocates of fighting breeds.

Similarly, in many cases pit bull advocates refer to themselves as "dog lovers" or "canine advocates" and media often accepts this usage. The majority of these pit bull advocates are single-purpose advocates of fighting breeds.

Sources: Newark
Activist wants county to stop killing pit bulls
    August 12, 2014; Newark Advocate
   March 19, 2010; NBC4
Shelly Myers, an animal advocate, said that the commissioners are not really making a change.

Indonesian Facebook page with Newark Advocate article

Sources: Gallia County
   June 19, 2014;  WSAZ3 News Channel

Gallia, Meigs dogs fly off to good homes
   June 11, 2014; My Daily

Wright takes over Gallia animal shelter
   March 18, 2014; My Daily

Three OH Dog Wardens Charged with Animal Cruelty
   March 17, 2014; Yes Biscuit

Ohio SPCA Discloses Evidence Regarding Horrific Gallia County Dog Killings
   March 15, 2014; Ohio SPCA

   March 15, 2014: Ohio SPCA
   March 14, 2014; Gallia Hometown Herald

   March 14, 2014; My Daily

   March 7, 2014; WSAZ 3

Gallia County Commissioners Hear Concerns Over Treatment of Dogs at Shelter
   March 3, 2014; Gallia Hometown Herald

Reader questions motives on dog killing
   February 22, 2014; My Daily
   (Note: The letter is signed by Judith Biggs of Point Pleasant, WV)

   February 20, 2014; WSAZ 3

   February 18, 2014; WSAZ 3

Other Sources:
Hocking County won’t fight dog ruling
   August 10, 2014; Columbus Dispatch
Kiger put down just six dogs from among 348 at the shelter last year; the rest were adopted, returned to owners or taken in by rescue groups. He hopes to improve upon those statistics this year.
   August 1, 2014; Toledo Blade
Dog warden fired
   July 31, 2014; Van Wert (Ohio) Times Bulletin

Statistics quoted on SRUV are from the nation's authoritative source for current dog attack statistics, the 30+ year, continuously updated Dog attack deaths and maimings, U.S. & Canada.
View or download the current PDF

2014 Year-end report of dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; January 3, 2015
32 years of logging fatal & disfiguring dog attacks
   Animals 24-7; September 27, 2014
How many other animals did pit bulls kill in 2014?
   Animals 24-7; January 27, 2015

This page may also include information from Dogsbite &Fatal Pit Bull Attacks.

Google News: Today's pit bull attacks

2014 Dog Bite Related Fatalities on Daxton's Friends
Index of canine fatalities on Daxton's Friends