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Questions Linger Over Dogs Taken From Mobile Home



There still are lingering, unanswered questions over the removal of dogs and cats from a mobile home in Archbold during the last week of July.

How did word of the mobile home get from the Fulton County Department of Job and Family Services to the Henry County Humane Society?

Why wasn’t the Fulton County Dog Warden notifi ed?

How many dogs were removed from the home?

Where did they go?

For Pete Skeldon, Fulton County dog warden, and Brian Banister, assistant dog warden, one of the biggest questions is: what happened to one, and possibly two, pit bulls or pit-bull mixed breed dogs that allegedly were part of the group?

Vond Hall, Fulton County administrator, said last week the office of the Fulton County Commissioners is conducting an investigation.

The investigation has three goals: determine what happened; determine what should have happened; and develop a policy or protocol to be sure that proper procedures are followed in the future.

Hall said some conclusions from the investigation should be available later this week.

Background

The Fulton County Expositor

reported in its Tuesday, Aug. 3 edition that the Henry and Fulton County Humane Societies assisted an Archbold woman who had as many as 26 dogs and 11 cats in her mobile home.

Sondra Metts, one of the founders of the Fulton County Humane Society, said her organization had not been offering services to the public. Instead, it was concentrating on a fund-raising campaign to purchase a building to use as an animal shelter.

Metts said she was able to place six of the dogs in foster homes. Homes also were found for the cats, she said.

Olga Leal, manager of the Henry County Humane Society, said she took four boxer puppies from the woman.

Metts said the Archbold woman owned five of the dogs. Metts found homes for six, and Leal took four. That adds up to 15– what about the remaining 10 dogs?

Surprise

The news of the mobile home came as a surprise to Skeldon, Banister, Archbold police, and Carma Grime, Archbold zoning inspector.

Leal said the story of the mobile home situation started at the Fulton County Department of Job and Family Services.

Leal said someone within the agency told a friend, who told another friend, who told a third or fourth friend, before the story got to her.

Leal said she spoke to a woman at Fulton County DJFS, who said she (the JFS worker) had been in the mobile home, and “the lady needed help.”

Anita Smith, assistant director of Fulton County DJFS, said last week agency officials do not give out information on cases.

Leal said she is an animal cruelty officer, and cannot cross the county border into Fulton County. However, the Henry County Humane Society does not turn dogs away.

When she went to the mobile home, “I never stepped into the home.”

Usually, she said, when she goes on cases similar to Archbold, the people don’t want help.

“This woman was crying, asking for help,” she said.

Dog Wardens

At least some of the animals from the mobile home were supposed to be at an adopt-a-thon conducted at The Savvy Dog Pet Boutique, Archbold, Saturday, Aug. 7.

However, none of the mobile home dogs were at the event. Heather Merillat, co-owner of The Savvy Dog, said Banister told her if any of the dogs from the mobile home were at her facility, she could be charged with receiving stolen property.

Not true, Banister said.

The dog wardens are concerned about the pit bulls that were allegedly part of the mobile home “pack.”

Metts said in an Aug. 4 article in this newspaper there was a male pit bull or pit-bull mixed breed that she described as having a good attitude, and a female that could be a pit bull mix at the trailer.

Banister said Ohio law imposes strict controls on pit bulls, which are considered vicious dogs from the moment they are born, no matter what their behavior.

Pit bulls must be confined, either in a home or a locked kennel, with a top and a concrete floor. When outside, they must be leashed and held by an adult capable of controlling the animal, and the dog must be muzzled.

Violation is a fourth-degree felony.

Half The Answers

Banister said as he and Skeldon question people about the mobile home incident, “We are only getting half the story.”

“No one is giving us the answers we need. No one has an exact number of how many dogs were there, who went into the residence, and who picked up the dogs,” Banister said.

“But we will find the answers, one way or another,” he said.

“I don’t understand,” Leal said. “What is the problem?

“We were helping the woman.”


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