Action Alert: Dogs Suffering in OH Pound

The Harrison Co Dog Pound in OH keeps its 13 dogs in outdoor runs.  Big or small, long-haired or short, healthy or suffering from parvo – they all struggle to survive in filthy conditions outdoors.  In winter, the dogs get frostbite.  And disease spreads as the pound is unable to clean the outdoor kennels:

The pound needs to use water to clean the facilities, but that is not possible as the grounds will freeze, making it hazardous for the animals.

This photo allegedly shows a dog who tried to escape the horrible conditions at the pound overnight but got stuck in the fencing, only to be found by a volunteer the next morning.

It doesn’t appear the dogs receive any veterinary care at the pound.  They just suffer until they die.  And apparently the county commissioners have been fine with the arrangement.  That is, until the vast public outcry following a recent TV news story about the conditions there.  Now the county commissioners just want all the dogs killed according to a posting by the Appalachian Ohio SPCA on their Facebook page.

If you’d like to contact the Harrison Co Board of Commissioners, their phone number is 740-942-4623.  As always, be polite and show respect.  These are the people who make the decisions regarding the dog pound.  Even if they deny that the dogs are slated for killing and/or are suffering, just explain that the TV news clip shows inhumane conditions (inadequate protection from cold, inability of the pound to clean the runs, lack of isolation and vet care for sick animals) and you are concerned about the well being of the dogs.

34 thoughts on “Action Alert: Dogs Suffering in OH Pound

  1. 13 dogs, why is there any need for a facility at all?

    Two or three fosters , or a dozen, could take much better care of the dogs.

    This is bad government run amok. This is where the tea party and no kill should connect.

    I have not heard a lot about “virtual” shelters but it seems a good idea in a lot of cases.

    1. We should get the local dog warden to post a 4 hour notice to comply on his own door:

      Provide adequate shelter
      Obtain veterinary care for sick dogs
      Clean housing areas

      But then what would he threaten himself with – seizing his own dogs?

      1. Exactly…and he’d seize them and kill them. So would this be mercy killing? Retribution? Or just convenience killing? Oh wait…aren’t the government powers that be planning on doing this very thing?
        And what will they do with the next 13 dogs?

  2. The pound where I got two of my rescues cleans the kennels with water and one of my senior rescues has a life long cough.. They putthe dogs outside in any temperature and they have to come backin to freezing concrete.

  3. We pulled from several Ohio pounds (these are pounds, not shelters) when we were pulling US dogs, and I can tell you from first hand experience that this sadly is not uncommon.

    These places are given a budget that amounts to nothing. The reason there were only 13 dogs there I would guess is that the day before was a kill day. They get 72 hours and then they are killed. There is no medical care.

    The better ones work their asses off to get these animals out to rescue, many of them taking animals home or using a foster network to hold them until transport is possible. Some even partner with local vets or techs to donate or reduce the costs of their services to aid the rescues in reducing the costs of vetting the animals as well.

    Oddly enough the nicest shelter I’ve ever been in was also in Ohio – Cuyahoga. Beautifully designed, healthy animals, great care and excellent efforts to work with rescue.

    As for the pounds, if that rural county either won’t or can’t afford to fund the pound, what are the people who are hired to run it supposed to do?

  4. The good news: recent reports indicate that there are only 4 dogs left at the “shelter,” and rescue efforts are in progress for them. The others have been rescued!

    The dog who got caught in the fence: someone “attempted” to fix chain link where it had separated from the frame of the kennel with plastic zip ties. Plastic zip ties + beaglehound = no more zip ties. No one knows how long the dog was stuck like that and what they were thinking when they fixed the opening with zip ties (instead of metal wire!!!) but that dog is safe.

    I don’t understand why they can’t just cover the openings. The shelter has indoor kennels that each have a door to an outdoor run. The door to the outdoor run remains open 24/7, hence the freezing cold conditions INSIDE the “shelter.” I just don’t understand why they cannot construct simple sliding doors to cover the openings and at the very least plug in a space heater, or a real heater. I’m sure now they will get all the help they need. And until spring, with the openings covered and a heater running the dogs will be more comfortable. Then in the spring they can build or modify a new shelter. Geez, I’ve seen people with fewer resources achieve better results. Even homeless people have blankets for their dogs and cuddle up with them at night, sharing body heat. Not that the dog warden should sleep in the shelter every night (lol) but it appears that they were not even trying!

  5. There’s just no money to have them replaced. The people who work at the pound get paid a penance. Particularly for the work they do.

    Some of the dogs we’ve picked up from there include:

    A few puppies from a litter of chow mixes. We couldn’t take the whole litter (they were weaned). They got there because a woman had a chow tied up outside whose husband hated. When the dog got pregnant, the woman hid the puppies as best she could, but one night when the pups were making noise, he found them. He shoved his wife around a bit, and promised to kill them all in the morning. She snuck them out in the wee hours and took them to the only place she could – the pound. Chows in Ohio are like Pit Bulls in other areas, so their chances were slim.

    A little Chihuahua/Min Pin mix who had been beaten so badly he had a cracked vertebra, a broken pelvis (in two places) and multiple fractures in his tail. Because of this, he couldn’t use the bathroom and required daily enemas, along with being in constant pain. Due to the sheer number of injuries, we were forced to euthanize him. He was two.

    A shar pei mix with a stab wound in his side, clearly meant to kill him.

    A Great Dane mix who was 45lbs when he came in.

    More embedded collars, matted dogs to the point of infection, overgrown nails to the point of growing into the pads and dogs so under socialized and beaten that even the sight of a human caused them to lose control of bladder and bowel.

    Now I’m not painting everyone in these areas with the same brush, but I can also say that far more animals left via rescue than via owner pickup. All had parasites (pleural – never have I seen so many dogs with hookworm and giardia along with all the regulars), kennel cough and general injuries and infections.

    These animals are treated as property. No, strike that. Like throw rugs. When they get dirty or ragged, they just dump them and get another.

    On top of that, Ohio is a puppy mill state, and these same pounds are dealing with the dumping of older puppies who don’t get sold. Never have I seen so many purebred and mixed chihuahua, minpin, cresteds, dachsies, poodles, shih tzus and cavaliers – and all under six months of age. Usually ill, injured or otherwise poorly cared for. Once they get to that point it’s easier to just dump them.

    There are several rescue groups that work specifically to get these little sweeties out of there, so we generally handled the worse cases and the adults less likely to get adopted (and ohmygod, the hounds, the hounds were EVERYWHERE, second only to chows and pits).

    We brought supplies when we could, but when you operate a pound like a pound, fund it like a joke and hire inexperienced people at minimum wage, that’s what you end up with.

    These are communities that need change from the ground up. Ohio and a few other choice states would be a GREAT place for the ASPCA or HSUS to put some of its money where it’s mouth is and begin a grade school educational program. Teach the younger children proper animal care. Teach the older children about animal abuse and why it’s wrong, and where to report it. Let them cuddle with well groomed, well trained dogs. Let them teach the dog a trick or two and teach them that dogs are FAMILY. These are simple concepts that a lot of these kids grow up not understanding.

    I know rescuers in the area who have been doing it for decades, and they see the problem getting worse, not better. The problem there is perception – these animals are not looked at as living, breathing, sentient beings – they are looked at the same way as that kitchen rug. It’s just there, and it certainly doesn’t feel pain or have any rights. When you’re tired of it, you throw it in the back yard, and when back yard cleanup time comes or the neighbours complain about the barking, to the pound it goes, no questions asked, no feelings involved.

    To evoke change in a community, you need community support. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here, but I just don’t you getting it – and as long as the public doesn’t care, neither does the government. We all know how hard it is to change things when the public DOES care.

    To anyone living in a rural Ohio area: Visit your local pound. Find out what they need. Inspect their location, their services, their policies, and assess their situation. Find a group of like minded people who want to evoke change, and take it upon yourself to approach local businesses to donate the materials necessary to make things right. Start a website – “Friends of the X Pound” and give major credit to all suppliers. Allow those suppliers to put up signs around the pound near the road under the heading of “Thank you to:” and have information inside the pound listing those who have helped and how others can help. Donating blankets, old washing machines, money, laundry detergent, any and all pet supplies that are no longer needed including food. Approach local handymen and ask them to do the work to ensure it gets done right.

    For a final kick, have your educators suggest to their students to write letters to who ever is in charge of the pound’s budget and explain to them why it is important (in their own words) to at the very least provide comfort and security for these animals during their last few days on earth, if that’s the best we can do – for now. Make sure you take copies of the letters, and make sure when you finally get the issue on the council’s schedule you bring them with you.

    Quick hint – releasing them to the press doesn’t hurt either, neither does a reporter interviewing a child who seems more concerned with a dog’s welfare than a politician who’s actually charged with their care.

    Creativity is key.

    1. The photos in that story are horrifying.

      The non-shelter does not need “help” i.e. more money, it needs to be shut down.

      What sane person, especially in a snowy state, would set up a place like that and call it a shelter?

      Before people ask for more they should account for what they already received. For the salary of a couple part time workers those dogs could easily be fostered and much happier and healthier.

      1. I fear you’re not getting the real picture of what’s going on in Ohio. I would say about 1/3 of the dogs we assessed were good candidates for us because no one else would want them in their home – they were not housebroken, they howled constantly, they were destructive, aggressive, territorial, or so fearful that the sight of human would cause them to lose their bowels and blow their anal glands.

        Another 1/3 were dogs with severe medical issues. Mange so bad that 1/2-1/3 of their hair had been replaced by infected scabs, both demodex and sarcoptic are rampant in the area due to poor care all around. Every animal has fleas and almost all of them have ear mites.

        Even the little ones – they come from puppy mills and have no house training whatsoever. They are genetic time bombs, plenty are deformed. Lots have been beaten, many bite – HARD.

        While there are certainly plenty of dogs that come in who require minimal effort (some leash training, a vet visit and a really thorough bath and parasite treatment) the vast majority are not going to be able to be handled by your average foster home.

        In fact, when we picked up dogs we usually took between 6-12 dogs a piece each trip depending on the size of the dog and other factors (we only had the one van). Of those 12-24 dogs, I would say that 1 or 2 we would let go within the first week – the remaining required professional supervision.

        I also know how hard it is to string together a group of true animal lovers to do large transports knowing the efforts involved – not using a shelter is simply not an option.

        As for sheltering them in outdoor runs, this can be done with some alterations. Dog houses with plastic doors and heat lamps with some kind of insulation on the floor would be a start. My family lives in Saskatchewan, where every dog over 20lbs is a farm dog and lives outside. At night, they curl up in the slightly warmer barn. Last winter I was there it was -35 (-55 with the windchill). We went horseback riding in this weather, and the dog happily tagged along. Ohio’s RECORD low is -39, and last winter wasn’t that cold compared to previous years in that region.

        Does Ohio not have a regulation stating that proper fencing be provided by owners? What about protection against the elements? Water? Cause if they aren’t using water bowl defrosters, you could get them on that…

        A foster only program works for rescues because we can pick and choose what we take in.

        Who is responsible when a new dog is removed from a cruelty case and the first day home they discover the dog has fear/dominance aggression – after the dog flies out from its hiding place under the side table and grabs their six year old by the back of the neck.

        NOW what do you do with the dogs? Got no pound, got no program… do we just kill them immediately?

        How does it go? Accept the things I can not change… but that doesn’t mean you can’t work every day to make one little improvement until the pound is acceptable.

        All I’m saying is don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. If the city won’t fix it, find the someones who will!

        Look, we wanted a community garden. Our city would pledge the land, but that was it. The land used to have a gas station on it. Yum.

        We got about ten community businesses to donate the material to build raised planters and now have a THRIVING community garden, along with a community that makes a point to support those businesses and encourages others to do the same. The key is planning and professionalism. Oh, finding someone who fundraises for a living and asking them to help out pro bono makes life much easier too. ;O)

        People of Ohio, YOU can do this. Surely you have some plywood? An extra box of shingles? Some hay bales? An extra tarp or some rope to keep the wind down? Post on Kijiji that heat lamps are needed as a donation to keep little dogs warm through the cold so they don’t freeze to death – you’ll get responses. Even if you don’t, a heat bulb and clamp fixture can be purchased for under $10. Half that if the store will give it to you at cost or say, buy 1 get 1 free. Keep a wishlist on a website, and post thank yous. Send thank you cards, make sure people know they are appreciated. Make sure your site stays up to date and photos of the progress are posted as often as possible.
        While you’re at it, post candid shots of the dogs – “Candy helping to install a new wind guard in her kennel to keep her warm and snuggly at night! She sure is thankful to *insert name here* for the generous donation*. Like all the dogs here, Candy’s time is running out. If you would like to learn more about her, give us a call. Better yet, grab those torn towels you’ve been meaning to replace and donate them to the pound – while you’re here you and Candy can go for a walk and see all of our wonderful work!”

      2. I am afraid that for your willingness to comment you are not equally willing to listen.

        The most coherent comment I think you made is this: People of Ohio, YOU can do this

        Yes, the people surely can. Glad we agree. Not sure what that has to do with sending the government more money.

      3. Where in the hell did I mention sending the government more money?

        Bottom line:

        Have you ever visited one of these Ohio pounds? How many have you personally attended?

        Have you ever spoken with or worked closely with the people who run these Ohio pounds?

        Have you ever done anything to assist these Ohio pounds, now or in the past?

        How long have YOU been working on this issue in Ohio?

        Where does your knowledge base about the Ohio rural culture surrounding dogs come from?

        I agree that that photos were horrifying, and were certainly avoidable. But you obviously didn’t read my previous posts. These people thought they had the problem solved, and with their budget, it comes down to do we feed them today, pay the hydro bill, or fix the fence?

        They generally underfeed – after all, three days of being underfed never killed anyone, and they’re dead or moved after 72 hours anyways.

        Yeah, the pictures are disgusting. Photos of any animal dying in a any kind of trap are not going to be pretty. But throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not how change happens. Take this incident, that has now received public attention and is still in the public eye, to reach those who DO care about animals and who want to do something.

        It is YOU who don’t appear to be listening to me. I’ve provided multiple solutions, and while you seem to enjoy my “You can do it Ohio” statement, you seem to want to do it with a sledgehammer and a wrecking ball.

        Want a new shelter? Get the city to match you dollar for dollar and start hitting the streets, one foot in front of the other. THAT is how you get things done.

        Not by sitting behind your computer and throwing mud while stomping your feet and screaming “The non-shelter does not need “help” i.e. more money, it needs to be shut down.”

        “For the salary of a couple part time workers those dogs could easily be fostered and much happier and healthier.”

        Notice you didn’t respond to anything I actually said, either. Could it be because you’re simply spewing hate towards the pound instead of constructive criticism that could actually help the people in this community to make it right.

        I’m not going to apologize for not agreeing with you that blowing up the pound and sending totally unknown, un-assessed, and likely unhealthy dogs into family homes is a good idea. Don’t think you’re going to get much support here for that one, either.

      4. Since you have all the time in the world, please do list a few dozen wll run shelters north of Missouri which keep their dogs in outdoor runs year round.

      5. LMAO – love how you avoid every question and point that I’ve made while STILL being able to out yourself at the same time.

        It’s not arrogance, it’s over half a decade of dealing with these facilities and being involved in several volunteer circles who have been fighting to make these situations better and save more animals every single day – and who are succeeding.

        It’s over half a decade of speaking directly with the people who work in these pounds, touring these pounds, pulling dogs from these pounds, and working to ensure that supplies are shared, people have what they need and as many get out as possible.

        You’re not reading what I’m writing. I’m sharing my personal experience, and explaining to you why putting an untested dog of any size or age directly into a home is a ridiculous idea (will someone chime in here please). Insurance alone would ensure that this never happened.

        Look, go through my posts again, and try actually reading them this time. Like, you know, reading them… and responding to the inquiries I made.

        Calling me arrogant does not offend me. However, it does bother me when I take time out of my day to explain the specifics of a particular situation that others may not really understand – details they may not be privy to – and they retort with something that amounts to “yeah, well… you smell like poopie!”

        You haven’t provided a viable alternative, you haven’t provided a single reason that my suggestions are NOT viable, you didn’t answer a single question about your personal experience with Ohio pounds.

        So far your replies have amounted to “don’t send the government any more money!” (still not sure where that came from) and “I think you’re arrogant!”

        Take your ball and your stick home for now. I’ll be happy to play again when you actually address what I’ve actually said or what’s actually going on, or what’s actually realistic.

      6. Kim you are wildly arrogant. All of your questions are about how much time I have personally spent working on Ohio issues.

        I was raised in Iowa and lived in Missouri and Michigan and have plenty of experience with rural issues, but in your world only someone like you can possibly understand what is going on in Ohio.

        So why are you asking us outsiders for help? Go on fixing it the way that only you can do.

        And please don’t forget to support your absurd claim that dogs in Ohio can live just fine in outdoor runs all year long.

        Back it up with something other than your own personal opinion.

      7. Wow, now you’ve passed right in to putting words in my mouth, huh?

        I never said it was “just fine” but with proper accommodation there’s no reason it can’t be done safely. If it couldn’t, every “outdoor dog” would die every winter and need to be replaced in the spring, no?

        Wow, you’ve lived in a rural area, so you must know what the pounds in rural Ohio are like, right?

        And if you think after such negative comments towards these pounds who are doing the best they can with the money they have that I’m going to throw other pounds under the bus, pounds that I have built trusting relationships with in order to be able to walk through and take cases that the average adopter wouldn’t be allowed to take home, you’re sadly mistaken.

        And you still haven’t answered my original set of questions about your “shut them down” (uh… then what?) and until you do, this conversation is over. You’re evading questions because you can’t answer them. Because your “answers” to this issue are not feasible.

        As far as having “all the time in the world” I run a private rescue and a training business, and on my days off this is what I do. But regardless, pot, meet kettle.

      8. Oh and Kim, I know several rural folk who keep dogs on their own property and do quite a good job for the dogs.

        The fact that you are not even aware of the concept may indicate your lack of understanding of rural areas. You may want to do some research on the issue so you can make more informed decisions.

      9. Why are you so intent on picking a fight with me? I grew up in rural Ontario (on a dairy farm with a working outdoor dog who slept on the front unheated porch or the chicken coop if there were predators around, and I spend a month twice a year, usually during the winter or fall months with my parents. My parents live a few hours north of Lloydminster and a few hours east, in Saskatchewan. It’s not rural, it’s damn near wilderness with dirt roads and some houses and towns every few hours. To give you an idea, it’s about 3,300km NORTH of Harrison County. Lowest temperature on record? -58 with NO windchill. I’ve participated in cattle drives, births, farm work, I drive a tractor (and pretty much any piece of heavy equipment you put in front of me) so before you start judging me, perhaps get the whole story.

        Not once did I say that rural dogs were mistreated. In fact, my argument was that dogs do just fine outdoors even in the worst conditions when provided with a proper place to get warm. Lots of time the barn alone is enough for most working dogs because they’ve built with a double coat. My mother’s neighbour has an american bulldog which she keeps outside, but the dog has a very large dog house heated with two radiant heat lamps and is packed with a thick layer of straw replaced weekly. I wish he wasn’t outside, but he’s been there for five years and hasn’t had an issue. Mind you, I do know a couple who lives in Frenchman Butte, SK who has a pair of shih tzus who have to don sweaters, coats, and boots to be carried to their carefully shoveled off pee area to do their business and then are rushed back indoors lest they get a chill – these are the rural dog owners we need who will hit up their neighbours for extra materials and perhaps even some handyman time.

        So you see, you’re proving my point. With PROPER facilities, even if they are totally outdoor, dogs can be kept safely without a problem – and cheaply.

        And as I said before, I’m not going to begin to name outdoor pounds so that you can turn your unproductive anger towards them when they are already doing what they can to improve their situation on a daily basis.

        You’ve already proven here that reason has no impact on you and you have no solutions other than “knock it down.” Put it this way, if you had an issue with a product someone sold you, and that someone asked you for some leads to sell that same faulty product to someone else, would you do it? Cause that’s not the way I work.

      10. Kim, I don’t know why you even started talking to me, giving me way too much information and unsolicited advice.

        Someone is asking for donations for the government run shelter. As someone who likes to donate to small shelters I merely commented that I would never give a dime to the GOVERNMENT which runs this shelter based on how they treated these dogs.

        Whenever a poorly run shelter hits the news there are defenders of the shelter who think the answer is more money for the people running the shelter. I merely commented that in a case like this giving more money to government for the purpose of this shelter is absurd.

        I really take issue with people who tell people like me that if we have not done the bad things we are criticizing we have no right to criticize it.

        At least you acknowlwedge not being aware of any well run northern shelters which leaves dogs outside all year. That is refreshing.

      11. Hey Erich – time for the foil caps… I swear I just heard some black helicopters, and it looked like they were headed your way!

        Yeah, let’s not fix the shelter, because that would be a handout for the GOVERNMENT. Much better to blow the place up and kill them on intake.

        Shirley, if I respond to this instigator again, block me. She’s just about starting to crawl under my skin. And STILL hasn’t answered any questions.


      12. Kim –

        The reason I keep stressing the word government is because you do not seem aware that it is government run.

        You previously cussed: Where in the hell did I mention sending the government more money?

      13. Erich, I live in Two Rivers, Alaska…it’s minus 40 degrees F right here right now. I have more than a dozen foster dogs. Three of them live in my house, all the rest live outside (24/7!)
        Our Animal Control has both indoor and outdoor pens. The huskies generally live outside 24/7 as they often freak out when brought indoors. They become stressed, hot, and exhibit negative behaviors (howling, chewing, digging, panting)…and some become difficult to handle! Others like it, but the indoor space in generally reserved for those with less hair, or with age or medical issues. It can be done!
        Shutting down a pound doesn’t help the animals. (Neither does killing them…but that seems to be the first response when anybody complains about their care!)
        Kim, thanks for your thoughtful posts on this thread. I get it.
        How would you suggest that the puppy mills be held accountable for their messes? (Cuz having the rescue world invest billions in trying to save their genetic and social disasters seems wrong to me.)
        Here in Alaska, Animal Control kills unsocial or “deformed” dogs…and sometimes they kill ANY animal brought in by specific “regular users” of their facility. If the breeder won’t invest in their own animals, why should the government bail them out?! (Retribution killing at it’s finest…sigh.)

      1. Hopefully these same groups who have come forward to help to pull these animals will stick around long enough to enact real permanent change.

        It CAN be done.

        It just requires enough dedicated people with the drive to do so.

        Way to go Ohio – now keep it going.

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