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DOG – GONE Part One

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 This was written back in September but for reasons unrelated to the story, I did not post it online.  Since the Harrison County Dog Pound and its adversaries are back in the news, I decided to post it to address the previous news stories.  I will post a follow-up column on Sunday, January 9th, with comments on the current situation. 


Normally, my rants are directed at our government, because losing our freedoms and seeing our nation put into deep debt gives me the howling fantods.  Today, there is an issue closer to home that needs commented on, because one side has local TV, radio and newspapers to trumpet their charges, and the other side is pretty much defenseless, and in my opinion, innocent.

I see that once again, the Appalachian Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (AOSPCA) has declared war on the Harrison County Dog Pound and the Harrison County Commissioners.  The lawsuit, filed last month, names the Commissioners, current Dog Warden Chris McMillion, former Dog Warden Carl Stewart, and charges overcrowding, lack of cleanliness, insufficient hours, and a number of other issues.

The Harrison County Commissioners don’t need me to defend them; they are elected officials and are able to take care of themselves.  My problem is the way the Dog Warden and volunteers are slammed with neglecting the dogs in their care.  Animal neglect is one of those emotion-laden charges that cause many people to judge before hearing all the facts.  The Dog Warden is only allowed to work so many hours, there is only so much money for dog food and supplies, and there are only so many volunteers to help.

Could the dog pound be cleaner?  Probably.  Is the Warden doing the best she can with the resources she has?  I think yes, she is doing the best she can. With more resources, I’m sure Chris McMillion could do a job that all could be happy with.

The real problem with the dog pound is that the county is broke and can’t fund the pound properly.  Even if the county had more money, it would probably go in other directions – think about recently closed schools and the potholes in front of your house.  I know the past and present Dog Wardens well enough to know they love animals and they did the best job they could with what they have.  They both have gone far beyond what the job requires.  It is a shame that they are being wrongly smeared in so public a fashion.

If anyone wants context to this story, I suggest they do a little research on the Internet.  An article on 6.09.08 in the Dover-New Philly Times Reporter ( is revealing of the back-and-forth between Harrison County and the AOSPCA.  This is a saga that has been going on for years; I suspect that there may be personal motives at work.

The September 11, 2010 News-Herald story on the lawsuit stated that AOSPCA attorney John Bell of Bexley, Ohio said it is not about money, other than court costs, his legal fees and statutory damages.  The county will incur legal costs in defending against the lawsuit.  So as taxpayers, we have to pay attorneys fees for both sides, court costs and fines – undoubtedly adding up to many thousands of dollars.  Fortunately, it’s “not about money.”  And to what end?  The county will be poorer, the pound will have less money, there will be less money to care for the dogs, and so the dogs will be worse off.  Nobody will be better off – except for the lawyers.  Is this really what the AOSPCA wants?  You can’t sue the dog pound into prosperity.

Mr. Bell also assert that all they want is to force the dog pound to “clean up, keep competent records and stop gassing.”  If that’s true, then why drag former warden Carl Stewart into this?  He resigned months ago and has nothing to do with the current operation of the pound.

Mr. Bell states, “I don’t know if there’s anyone they can put in as a dog warden to do the job there.”  That’s just great.  So anyone, anyone, who works as Dog Warden in Harrison County can count on getting sued by the AOSPCA and be accused of keeping the pound too hot, too cold, not clean enough, overcrowded, etc., etc., etc.

The AOSPCA knows how to use the media.  Whenever they complain about something, it is on the radio, on TV and in all the local papers.  Charges of neglect are aimed at the overworked and underpaid warden and unpaid volunteers, who are least able to defend themselves.  I think the AOSPCA enjoys the media attention a little too much, and relishes playing the part of crusader for the helpless dogs, and the damage they do to the dogs and the people trying to help them gets lost in the story.

A number of dog lovers both in and out of Harrison County help the dog pound with donations of money, supplies and time.  I encourage everyone to donate to the pound.  Simply call the dog pound and ask them what they need.  This is a problem that the citizens of Harrison County can and should take care of themselves.  There are enough people who care about dogs that they can help bridge the funding gap and keep the Commissioners and publicity hounds like the AOSPCA out of it.  If the AOSPCA has the money to hire a fancy attorney from one of the wealthiest suburbs of Columbus, you’d think they have the money to give the pound some help.  Oops, I forgot – they are sending us the bill for the fancy attorney.

Story Continues Here: DOG – GONE Part Two

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Larry Bertolino

Larry Bertolino

Owner at myLocalPCpro
Larry Bertolino is a 31 year old, U.S Navy Veteran and currently sitting on the board of Directors for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Harrison County Rural Transit.
Larry Bertolino
Larry Bertolino

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Posted by on January 4, 2011, 10:44 am. Filed under Featured, John Lovejoy, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry