WARREN - Fewer dogs are in danger of being euthanized at a local facility.
Trumbull County Dog Warden Gwen Logan said her "no-tolerance" policy is just one of many changes she has implemented in the last two years of her appointment.
"You have to treat these animals with dignity and respect at all times," she said, affirming any type of abuse by a deputy or volunteer is a deal breaker.
Tribune Chronicle photos / Bonnie Hazen
Trumbull County Dog Kennel volunteer Erin Barrickman pets a male Labrador / pit bull mix named Stuffing. The facility picked up Stuffing and another female dog after they were dropped off in front of a Warren home. Both were badly injured, and the female remains hospitalized. Stuffing is recovering well and is available for adoption.
Logan installed cameras so she could monitor how the dogs are treated after-hours and on weekends.
The facility also switched from gas chamber to lethal injection in March of last year. Recently, the shelter's no-kill status has increased to 92 percent, and only three dogs had to be euthanized this year due to space. Most euthanizations now are a result of medical problems or behavioral issues such as aggression and not due to space, she said.
Many people confuse dog warden facilities with rescue shelters, but there is a big difference, Logan said. The dog warden's responsibility is to keep the community safe from dogs.
Rescued dog 'looking brighter'
Mocha, the dog removed from a Warren residence Wednesday along with five dead dogs and four dead kittens, is "looking brighter" according to Debbie Agnostinelli of the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County.
Agnostinelli helped rescue Mocha after the police and Welfare League were called to investigate at 2518 Hamilton St. S.W.
She said the dog is underweight and "full of worms," but being well looked after by the league. She said she hopes to begin filing legal charges against Tiffany Charlton, the dogs' owner, at the beginning of next week.
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Logan said some people want to adopt everything, believing they can give the animals a better life than they would have on the street.
"It's not always a good alternative," she said.
Five dogs and four kittens were found dead in a Warren home Wednesday and removed by the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County. Logan said they don't deal with situations like that normally, and there isn't much they can do.
"It's not something we can overstep our bounds on," she said, adding that they have assisted people who own large numbers of dogs care for them and have taken some off their hands in order to prevent situations like that from happening.
If a sick or injured dog can be treated, Logan said they do everything they can to get it back to health. This can be a challenge at times because the facility subsists solely on money from dog licenses and donations, she said.
With 14 indoor and 10 outdoor cages, the facility can fill up quickly, and was at full capacity a few weeks ago. However, by networking with agencies and families to foster dogs, they were able to find homes for many, Logan said.
One agency that assists them is Ohio Fuzzy Pawz Shih Tzu Rescue. Director Jim Wilson of Mineral Ridge said they have collaborated with the Warren facility for more than 10 years to rehabilitate, foster and adopt dogs weighing less than 20 pounds.
"They call and ask if we want them and we usually take them," he said.
The group also has rescued dogs from puppy mills, taking in 27 dogs at one time, and most recently took 10 from a mill in Dayton that had more than 200 dogs.
The Ohio Senate passed a law Tuesday to regulate the dog-breeding operations in order to improve the lives of animals born and living in puppy mills, and Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign it into law before the first of the year.
"I think it's a very good start," Logan said. "(Puppy Mills) are farming of dogs. I really hope that this law will help us to get a better handle on those conditions."
When a dog is brought into the dog warden facility, it is weighed, treated for worms, fleas and ticks and given the first round of vaccinations. Logan said she wants to provide Rabies shots in the future if funding allows, as well as expand the building.
There are several dogs available for adoption, said Trumbull County Dog Warden deputy Holly Jordan. Adoption fees are $34, which include a dog license. Adoptees must agree to have their new dog spayed / neutered within 30 days of the adoption.
One male Labrador / pit bull mix was dropped off recently in front of a Warren home along with another female dog. Both were severely injured, and the female is still being hospitalized for her injuries, Jordan said.
"You could see a hole inside of her neck," Jordan said, recalling they were bleeding profusely. The male was named Stuffing because it was just before Thanksgiving when they rescued him and he was so skinny he needed stuffing, she said.
"He's a very nice, nice, sweet dog," Logan said. "If we are able to find the person who dumped that dog, we will prosecute."
It is a misdemeanor to abandon a dog, with potential jail time and a fine of $750, Logan said.
Another dog, Razzle, was adopted briefly before being returned to the kennel after his new owner was incarcerated. The friendly pit bull / boxer is now in need of a home.
It is required by Ohio law to license dogs more than 3 months old, and licenses must be issued within 30 days of acquiring a new dog. The Trumbull County Dog Warden office has licenses available for $14.