The Fulton and Henry county Humane Societies assisted an Archbold woman by removing as many as 26 dogs and 11 cats she was keeping in her mobile home last week.
But Peter Skeldon, Fulton County dog warden, said he is looking into how the situation was handled.
Skeldon said he was surprised when an article on the incident appeared in the Tuesday, Aug. 3 edition of the Fulton County Expositor.
He didn’t know anything about the case. Neither did the Archbold police or Carma Grime, Archbold zoning inspector.
“Any dog activity in the county comes through this office,” Skeldon said.
He said the Fulton County Dog Pound gets calls from people whose dogs were stolen or have gotten lost.
If he or Brian Banister, assistant warden, don’t see the dogs before the animals are removed from the county, the dog wardens can’t determine if the dogs have been reported missing and returned to their owners.
“We’ve heard the majority of the dogs are already out of the state,” Skeldon said.
He was concerned with a Henry County agency coming into Fulton County without notifying Fulton County officials.
Henry County is structured differently than Fulton.
While Fulton County owns its own dog pound, Henry County’s dog warden turns dogs over to the Henry County Humane Society, which shelters dogs until they are returned to the owners, adopted, or euthanized.
He said the Fulton County Humane Society is not actually an established agency. The group does not yet have a facility.
“They’re not even legal,” he said.
Sondra Metts, one of the founders of the Fulton County Humane Society, said she was contacted by the Henry County Humane Society to assist with the Archbold case.
Metts said she was contacted on Tuesday or Wednesday last week, July 27 or 28, about the incident. She visited the mobile home with Heather Merillat of The Savvy Dog Pet Boutique on Thursday, July 29.
Metts said the Henry County Humane Society had already removed some dogs by the time she got there, but she said at one point, there were “20-some” dogs and 11 cats.
“Five of the dogs were her own, but they were little Chihuahua-type dogs,” she said.
The others included a male pit bull or pit-bull mix, which she described as having a good attitude, and a female that could be a pit bull mix.
“All the dogs had a real sad story attached to them,” Metts said.
The woman involved in the case “is a lovely girl, but it was just too much for her. She couldn’t say no. She kept taking in animals.
“There was no mistreatment. The dogs were in good repair. Most were spayed or neutered, and had their shots.”
Metts declined to name the woman or identify where the mobile home is located, other than to say it is in Archbold.
“It was not like a hoarding situation, and there was no abuse. She just had way too many, and did not know what to do,” Metts said.
Metts said the incident made the Internet on the Fulton County Humane Society Facebook web page, and apparently on the classifi ed pages of craigslist.
After visiting the mobile home, Metts said she sent out an email to the 60 members of the Humane Society advisory board, seeking foster homes for six of the dogs.
Foster homes were found for six of the dogs.
Metts said an adopt-athon will be held at the Savvy Dog, Saturday, Aug. 7, for all of the dogs except the pit bulls, because there is a question as to whether they can legally be offered for adoption in Archbold.
Skeldon said one of the things he wants to investigate is a report that the Fulton County Department of Job and Family Services originally contacted the Henry County Humane Society about the mobile home case.
Anita Smith, assistant director of the Fulton County DJFS, said agency officials are not allowed to give out information.
A call to an official at the Henry County Humane Society was not returned.
The referral should have made its way to his office, Skeldon said.
Metts said while the Fulton County Humane Society was only involved in raising funds to purchase an animal shelter, “through this whole scenario, we’ve decided to start offering services to the community.”
The group will start with two programs: SNIP and FLIP, or Spay, Neuter, and Immunized Plan, and Foster Living Into Permanent homes.
Skeldon said the whole situation “is mind-boggling to me.”