Jefferson Co, OH Dog Warden Charged with Animal Cruelty

Misty, as shown on the WTOV website.

Misty, as shown on the WTOV website.

Allegations of animal abuse at the Jefferson Co pound in Ohio are not new.  In fact, county commissioners installed cameras at the facility specifically to address these concerns.  On Saturday, a camera at the Jefferson Co pound reportedly caught dog warden William Bell hitting a dog named Misty in the head with a shovel.  There were volunteers who witnessed the incident as well, including children.

Bell had reportedly broken up a fight between Misty and another dog in an outdoor yard by separating the two.  After Misty was alone and lying down, Bell reportedly returned with a shovel and whacked her in the head with it.  Misty sustained head and neck injuries and was apparently treated by a vet.

The vet’s report, along with the video evidence, hasn’t yet been made public by Jefferson Co but they won’t be able to hide it forever.  The county prosecutor has reviewed the evidence and charged Bell with misdemeanor animal cruelty.  Bell is currently on paid leave.

And the excuses are already pouring in.  Jefferson Co commissioner Tom Gentile told a local news reporter that no situation is “perfect”:

Any time you have human beings as employees, things are going to happen. That’s just part of management.

Those problematic humans.  You never know whether they are going to pilfer paper clips from the supply closet or take a shovel to a dog’s head.  It’s all in a day’s work.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla wanted the TV news to know that Bell could have swung the shovel harder:

“I thought at first it was gonna be a heavy swing where he really hurt that dog, but I don’t think that that’s the way it was, but apparently it was bad enough.”

Maybe the sheriff would like to demonstrate a light swing of the shovel on his own head, so we can better understand.

If convicted, Bell faces a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail.  The Jefferson Co prosecutor explained that Ohio law is limited when it comes to punishing animal abusers and that even if Bell had beaten Misty to death, the charges would be the same.

Bell’s violence against Misty is obviously part of a pattern of abuse.  It’s why the cameras were installed in the first place.  And he is paid by taxpayers to protect the community’s animals from harm.  The county commissioners are supposed to decide on Bell’s future as dog warden by the end of today.  Because that’s a thing that must be thinked about.

Ho hum.  Another day in We All Want the Same Thing Land.  And remember, don’t criticize unless you are willing to go down there and start beating dogs in the head your own damn self.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

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15 Comments

  1. Again with the psychopaths working in shelters. I wonder if the video is subject to FOIA? And if it is, what other video do they have that should be, too….

    Let’s hope this actually results in the man being fired and the cameras staying on – as opposed to MAS, were the abusers get raises and the cameras get shut down.

    Reply
  2. Paula Lee

     /  September 11, 2014

    Well, don’t criticize unless you are willing to go down there and break up a dogfight your own damn self! I am not in favor of abusing anything, but in the case of a dogfight you grab anything you can and smack them with it until they quit – however hard you have to smack them. Don’t even try to not use SOMETHING to smack them with. It’s best to keep a broom handy when you have a situation that might produce a fight. A dog fight can do an alarming amount of damage in 10 seconds – you don’t have time to go looking for a broom and for God’s sake don’t get yourself in the middle of it. I did that ONCE with two of my own dogs and almost lost my hand ( or the use of my hand) for my efforts. Be glad the man was there and had the presence of mind to use the shovel to stop the fight, instead of maybe using it to bury the bodies. He put himself at great risk in so doing. Those dogs are just as easily going to turn on him, as each other.

    Reply
    • sarahjaneb

       /  September 11, 2014

      No, this was not during the fight. “After Misty was alone and lying down, Bell reportedly returned with a shovel and whacked her in the head with it.” Also, this is a DOG POUND, and part of their job is to manage the dogs properly so they don’t even have the opportunity to fight. If they are going to set up situations where the dogs are allowed to interact, they need to have proper tools handy and be prepared to use them correctly. This is not the same as two dogs who normally live in the same household and get along suddenly getting into a totally unexpected fight and you just grab whatever you can. If you let dogs at a shelter interact you should expect fights every now and then and be prepared to break them up without breaking any skulls.

      Reply
    • sarahjaneb

       /  September 11, 2014

      Also, if you think smacking a dog with something is actually the right way to break up a dog fight rather than a last resort, you’re mistaken. There are a lot of right ways to do it that don’t involve hurting the dogs. In a case like this they should’ve been using drag lines, which are a relatively easy way to break up a fight before it really starts. Otherwise, you can use something very loud to startle the dogs, like an airhorn. You can put something in between the dogs, like a piece of plywood or even a chair. If you have a helper, you can each wheelbarrow one of the dogs, although that can be risky. Smacking the dogs with an object is an absolute last resort.

      Reply
    • Sorry, but these folks are in the business of caring for animals, and because of that, they should know better than to allow dogs together without a backup plan if something happens between them. And, as others have pointed out, Misty was not in the act of fighting when this asshole beat her with a shovel. He should be fired immediately and never be allowed around animals again. AND the cameras should stay on.

      Reply
    • Lou Ann

       /  September 12, 2014

      Totally agree he should be fired!! He was totally at no risk. If he were in Memphis, he would just be “re-trained” — and probably on the use of a shovel.

      Reply
    • I wish people would actually READ before they comment.

      Reply
  3. Arlene

     /  September 11, 2014

    Were you there? The commissioners viewed the tape and saw that one dog had been taken inside and that Misty was laying on her side on the ground. He then PICKED UP THE SHOVEL AND BEAT HER! This was not a man who was at any great risk! The poor dog was the one that received the beating.

    He deserves to be fired. He should not work around any animals ever again.

    Reply
  4. Jane Mehaffey

     /  September 12, 2014

    Ohio has a law called Nitro’s Law that call animal cruelty at kennels and rescue facilities. But does the county shelter qualify as a rescue facility? Here is a link to a column about Nitro’s Law
    http://www.dogheirs.com/dogheirs/posts/3587-animal-cruelty-now-a-felony-offense-in-ohio-nitro-s-law-passed

    Reply
  5. erin

     /  September 12, 2014

    Wow Paula Lee, if no one has ever told you that you’re an idiot then let me be the first. YOU ARE AN IDIOT! As previous people have already mentioned, the fight was already over and Misty was alone when he went back to her to unleash his anger against her. As also previously mentioned, precautions should always be taken if animals are allowed to socialize. Even if they have been around one another without incident, there is always a chance it could happen as did with your animals who lived together. This man had a job to do which was to “shelter” animals, not mistreat them.

    Reply
  6. Debbie

     /  September 12, 2014

    Really does it matter how hard he hit Misty on the head with the shovel and the answer to that question is “NO” because it should have never happen to her in the first place!! This guy should not be on paid leave and should not be able to come back to work or ever be allowed to be around any kind of animal without 24 hour supervision.

    Reply
  7. Paula, do you realize the dog fight was OVER and then the beating with the shovel occurred. I’m confused about your confusion…..it’s very clear…. this is animal abuse…. he needs to be fired.

    Reply
  8. Marina

     /  November 2, 2014

    I dont get it.. Dog daycare by me has a hose in the playroom!! just in case…How do they not equipped for those type of situations? you dont have to be a pro!..

    Reply
  9. Kittypurr

     /  November 3, 2014

    Guess airhorns are not in their budget. Nor is hiring compassionate people.

    Reply

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