Canine activists call animal control officer
SCIOTO – A Wheelersburg dog’s living conditions are so dire he has to sleep on top of his kennel. Others with local tags have been found on the Kentucky side of the river.
These stories are too typical for two Scioto County dog activists and now they’re looking for a change.
Shirley Dunn and Janey Jenkins Hiles spoke to Scioto County Commissioners on Thursday with one request in mind: bring an animal control officer to the county.
“We have terrible, terrible animal neglect issues here in southern Ohio,” said Hiles, a Lucasville resident. “For the most part, no one seems to care.”
Hiles is very active on social media in promoting animal rights, posting regularly on the “Lost and Found Pets of Scioto County” Facebook page. She says the problem of neglect has not received enough attention over the years and has worsened, particularly in Portsmouth.
When the Daily Portsmouth Schedules reported on three area residents charged with animal abuse in 2018, she said this was the first time local media had highlighted the issue.
“Animal abuse has been kept as a deep dark secret here in our county,” she said in a June 2018 article. “Now, with the help of this article as well as felony charges, he is made public in the light of day. “
Dunn has met the aforementioned Wheelersburg dog within the past three years. The situation, no protection from inclement weather and unsanitary drinking water, is one that “tears her heart.”
“This poor baby dug a hole under his doghouse, trying to get some shade,” said the Wheelersburg resident and longtime dog lover. “These drug addicts don’t care.”
Commissioner Bryan Davis said this is an issue the board is well aware of and discussions with Sheriff David Thoroughman are ongoing. As a dog owner himself, it is heartbreaking for him to see the prevalence of abuse.
“Unfortunately we have people who don’t care about animals,” he said, where other crimes like child neglect and illegal dumping also take place in the same places. “I will assure you, and I have already assured you, I am a dog lover, I am an animal lover.”
However, in order to afford an animal control officer, you have to generate more income from dog license plates. Ohio’s revised code 955.01 requires all dog owners to purchase a license in the county in which the dog resides.
According to the Scioto County Auditor’s website, there are several prices for dog licenses depending on the length of the tag. For new licenses or one-year renewals, the base fee is $ 12 with an online fee of $ 2. Three-year labels cost $ 39.25, online fees $ 3.25, while permanent labels cost $ 128 with $ 8 for online fees.
Although this is a state law, Hiles said many do not buy labels because of lack of knowledge or deliberate shortening. The penalty for non-registration, by law, should be assessed by the auditor and should be “an amount equal to the registration fee for one year” in addition to the registration fee.
The revenue generated from the name tags is low, Davis said, not enough to run the Scioto County dog shelter on Arrowhead North Run itself. What would help this situation, suggests Hiles, would be a stricter application of the sanctions.
Currently, she argues, this is not the case. Davis and Commissioner Cathy Coleman said citations were being given but there were many doors to knock.
“It’s the law,” Hiles said. “It’s the same reason you have car labels: to maintain the roads. The same with the identity plates: looking after the dogs.