Clark County Reopens Negotiations with Humane Society

Clark County has entered into a monthly contract with the Animal Resource Center in Montgomery County after what was described as a yearlong negotiation between the county and The Humane Society Serving Clark County broke down on Wednesday of last week. According to Clark County Administrator Jennifer Hutchinson, the county was notified that they had six days to “vacate the office space” used by the Dog Wardens at the Humane Society. The space was being leased by the county according to a press release issued by the county on Tuesday. In the letter, it was also stated that the Humane Society would no longer accept stray dogs taken in by the Dog Wardens.

In a phone interview late Tuesday evening, Executive Director of the Humane Society Roger Ganley stated that there was never a contract signed for services to the county. Board President Carol Dunlap could not elaborate on whether or not the organization could continue operations without the county contract for stray animals.

Hutchinson stated that the agreement reached in December of 2016 provided the Humane Society $80 per dog which is significantly higher than the $60 being charged by The Animal Resource Center. When the Dog Wardens moved their office to Springview Government Center last week, the County had to find alternative boarding for the dogs noted Hutchinson. “Clark County reached out to Montgomery County and they were gracious enough to assist in this transition” said Hutchinson.

According to Ohio Revised Code, the dogs must be kept as property of the county for 72 hours. After that time if they are not claimed by their owners, they become the property of the shelter and or organization housing them. At that time they can be adopted out or sent to a rescue organization. For animals that are too sick or are determined to be too aggressive, the shelter has the right to decide how to proceed. It should be noted that The Animal Resource Center is not a high kill shelter and the majority of dogs not claimed are expected to find new homes or go to rescue organizations. The Dog Wardens take in an average of 10 dogs per week according to Hutchinson.

Beginning on February 1, all dogs taken in by the Clark County Dog Warden will be housed at the Animal Resource Center located at 6790 Webster Street in Dayton. The county is working to look at other options for keeping the dogs in Clark County, however currently they must use the resources in Montgomery County.

To help dog owners reunite with their dogs will be viewable on petharbor.com which is located on the Animal Resource Center’s web site. The dogs will be labeled “Clark County” dogs to help with identification. Residents who are not able to travel to the Center will be able to work with the Dog Warden on a case by case basis.

If the dogs do not have a license, owners may purchase their 2017 dog tags at ARC when they pickup their dog. All dogs in the county must have a current dog tag. The Clark County Auditor’s office also has tags for sale.

Dogs that are picked up and have a license on their collar are reunited with owners without going through the induction process at a shelter. Last year the Auditor’s office instituted a new software program that allows the wardens to track the dog to their address without having to take them in. Dog owners should display the license on the dogs collar at all times to assure a safe and speedy return.

Comments during the interview indicated that the County was told that the Humane Society was experiencing some financial difficulties. When asked about this, Ganley stated that he could not operate the shelter on $70,000 a year. It should be noted that until July of 2016 the Humane Society received funding from the county for salaries, equipment and vehicles for the Dog Wardens. When the Dog Wardens separated to Clark County, those funds were no longer provided to the Humane Society. Dunlap stated that she could not comment on the funding as she was new to the position of President of the Board this month and had only served on the board since April of last year.

Ganley stated that he has worked seven days per week to get the shelter cleaned up and operating efficiently. He stated that he did not ask volunteers to leave the organization as has been rumored in the community, but rather has built a program with 50 volunteer over the age of 16. When Ganley was hired by the board last July, his previous employment focused on fundraising for this type of organization. No efforts were identified during the interview regarding future fundraising efforts.

In regards to accepting owner released animals Ganley stated that he works with individuals on a case by case basis. The organization has little information on their web site and does not advertise that they will accept owner releases.

Because the Humane Society plans to meet with the county and look at whether or not they can renegotiate a contract on Wednesday, February 1 Dunlap would not confirm how the board would look at the future if they are not successful. Further information is expected sometime late Wednesday evening from the Humane Society.

Updated information from Clark County Administrator Jennifer Hutchinson on Thursday, February 2, 2017 indicated that the county met with members of the Humane Society board and the executive director at their request. A joint press release was to be issued, however as of close of business on Friday, the Humane Society had not completed their part of the release.

Hutchinson stated in an e-mail that negotiations continue and that “the contract with Montgomery County is still in place”. Hutchinson also stated “we will be utilizing services of the Humane Society” but gave no specifics regarding how this will be done.

The Enon Eagle and New Carlisle News will continue to follow developments in an effort to keep pet owners informed.

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