Allegations of Abuse Against Jefferson Co Humane Society in OH


Screengrab from the Facebook page of the Jefferson Co Humane Society.
Screengrab from the Facebook page of the Jefferson Co Humane Society.

Allegations of abuse, which include killing dogs too quickly and inhumanely, have been made against the Jefferson County Humane Society in OH.  I looked up the group’s website to see what they are about.  This is part of what the JCHS has written on the page on surrendering a pet:

Keep in mind that if you don’t want to deal with the problem, a stranger won’t want to either—and might even become abusive to your animal. You may also be liable for undesirable and/or undisclosed behavior. In the end, if you don’t solve the problem, the animal may be considered unacceptable and euthanized.

*gulp*  I hate every single thing about that.  Every.  Single.  Thing.  It’s Blame the Public gone wild.  It’s fear mongering.  It’s a lie.  I don’t like lies.

The JCHS is an all volunteer group that pays its humane officer (not sure how “volunteer” and “paid” go together), Sally Wehr.  Jefferson Co commissioners met with Ms. Wehr and the county dog warden last week regarding the allegations.  They reached an agreement and offered some reassurances to the public.  I am not at all reassured.

Reassurance #1:

Residents expressed concerns about euthanasia practices, but the shelter follows federal humane society rules.

There is no such thing as a “federal humane society” and as such, no rules to follow.  This is at best, a hollow attempt to placate concerned citizens and at worst, an outright fabrication.

Reassurance #2:

“We haven’t seen any signs of [the alleged abuse]. We are the humane society, so of course if we had seen that we would press charges,” said Sally Wehr, a humane officer with the Jefferson County Humane Society.

Wait, what?  This is the paid volunteer (?) saying she would press charges against who – her co-workers?  Herself?  I am confused.

Reassurance #3:

“We’ve agreed to that anytime you euthanize a dog, that will have to be agreed upon by two individuals, the humane officer as well as the dog warden. They both have to sign off before anything like that is done,” said Dr. Tom Graham, a Jefferson County commissioner.

Again, what?  I thought the accusations of abuse were against these people?  How can the community feel reassured by two of the accused abusers signing off on pet killings?

Reassurance #4:

The Jefferson County Humane Society will prepare a policy and procedure manual for the county’s animal shelter in response to complaints lodged about dogs being euthanized too quickly and alleged abuse.


“This will help alleviate any type of public concern,” [Sally Wehr] said.

Welp, stand down everyone.  There’s gonna be a manual.

12 thoughts on “Allegations of Abuse Against Jefferson Co Humane Society in OH

  1. This will make everyone happier (NOT!) – according to their website about Lost & Found pets…..

    “As much as we at JCHS would like to take the animal from you we simply cant. We sadly, do not have a shelter at this time to care for them. There are few of us and even fewer foster homes. What we can do to help is provide you information to assist in finding the owner before contacting our volunteers who are busy investigating abuse incidents.”

    Seriously – there is NO BUILDLING – it’s a Humane Society that is literally run out of people’s homes……

    Now that makes me feel better…yeah right, and pigs can fly!

    1. The whole thing is very confusing. In the screengrab above, someone asks if the dog in the photo can be fostered and the JCHS replies no, there is no foster program. And yet they refer to a shortage of foster homes to explain why they don’t accept found pets.

      1. Bingo. Humane Society – No foster program – allegations of quick kills – and I bet their adoption fees are through the roof. They are following the standard Humane Society for profit model. We want the money but not the work.

  2. There is much here that is not above-board. The fact that the people involved are pretending some kind of second or third-party status is beyond suspicious.

  3. How long do they currently keep dogs before killing them? If they don’t have a building, where & how do they keep them? Why is only one person a paid employee? Who pays that person that couldn’t pay for more? …So many questions & such a confusing “Humane Society” of Jefferson County. Sounds like someone’s hiding something.

    Do we have any readers close to Jefferson Co to supply more info?

  4. Extortion or pet-napping? If you can’t pay the fee, we kill your dog, even if he’s a member of your family.

  5. Looks like they sell dog licenses there. So what do the fees pay for and who is responsible for animal control?

    A site search for ‘animal control’ only found the word ‘animal’ here, in “The general responsabilities for the Auditor’s Office: .

    The Auditor’s office is the focal point in the county for the issuance of licenses for dogs, kennels, vendors, and cigarettes. Dog licenses comprise the largest number of licenses sold. The annual dog registration is a service designed to benefit the animal, owner, and community. Vendor licenses authorize businesses to sell tangible property to the public and collect sales tax, a part of which is returned for use on the local level.

    Click here to lookup a dog tag number”

  6. Humane society on Petfinder appears to be a separate entity than the pound. Not sure where to find info on impounded animals, except through volunteers at the JCHS:

    “Our Featured Pet…

    We believe that all pets are special and most of the pets pictured on our website are located at the Jefferson County Pound. We would love to feature every one of them.”

    “Who We Are

    The Jefferson County Humane Society (JCHS) is a 501c3 nonprofit independent organization supported by memberships, contributions and bequests. JCHS is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of volunteers from the community who are dedicated to animal welfare. We are committed to the general welfare, prevention of cruelty to animals, animal overpopulation, placement of animals and education concerning humane treatment of all living creatures. The Society is not controlled or funded by any state-wide or national organization. Donations made to national animal welfare groups do not benefit our local pets. Your tax-deductible donations will help us save more animals…”

    Jefferson County Humane Society
    PO Box 233
    Steubenville, OH 43952 …

  7. This press release was sent to 4 media outlets…two newspapers/two TV stations. We have received no coverage despite providing contact info:

    A group of private concerned citizens is working on addressing the reported allegations of needless euthanasia and other reported problems taking place at Jefferson County Animal Shelter located in Wintersville.

    A public page has been created on Facebook to help draw out people who might have had bad experiences with the shelter, as a whole, in trying to adopt an animal, trying to turn in a found stray or have inquired about an animal posted for adoption. Groups that rescue animals from shelters because of “URGENT” postings on websites, Pet Finder, other animal rescue posting and cross posting Facebook pages including those of the Jefferson County Animal Shelter and the Jefferson County Humane Society Facebook pages are strongly encouraged to contact the group for any information they can provide regarding postings.

    People and groups that are potential witnesses and can provide information are encouraged to leave a private message at the group’s Facebook page, Friends of Jefferson County Ohio Sheltered Animals ( ). Information gathered will be hand delivered to county officials.

    The group, which encourages the public to write letters to the editors of area newspapers and to the county commissioners, also hopes the public will continue with food, bedding and toys for the dogs at the shelter including adoption efforts.

  8. I need to speak to the person that wrote this. There are other people you should be in contact with that are focusing on this very problem in Jefferson County. The more people paying attention to this… fewer animals will die.

  9. I know for a fact one of the ladies who is associated with this agency STEALS!!! peoples pets and does not report them as found II mean she out right takes them from your property as a matter of fact she lost her job due to this unacceptable behavior… She has now taken 2 of my pets and I am crying constantly and have extremely bad migraine head aches. I told the agency of her inappropriate behavior and they told me “I will check with my colleagues and we will get back to you later this week”… As a matter of fact she currently has a small whit dog that looks like a mini Bischon or something She said ” I had no idea she was pregnant, I stole her from a puppy mill”. Well the dog had two babies and one died she said she believes it was Parvo.. So anyone out there around Steubenville area lost a very cute small white dog (puppy is approximately 8 weeks – 12 weeks old now) I tell you what let me know and I will tell you where to find it.. She also steals peoples cats and lets them run aimlessly through the neighbor hood one of them is a cat named OREO long hair black and white

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