If I had to make the decision on whether or not to shoot the aggressive dog that was the topic of a front-page story on Friday, I would have made the same decision as Animal Control director Kim Pettrey.
It pains me to say that because I hate it with a passion. I would rather have seen that animal taken and rehabilitated. I know that’s what James Jacobs wanted. When I talked to him, one of his first comments was he believes Warren County Animal Control’s job is to rehabilitate animals like that.
As soon as I said, “No, sir, it is not,” he got up to walk out and stated, “We’re done here.”
It was obvious to me any differing opinion from his own was going to be met with distain. However, here’s the sad fact: Animal Control does not have the financial resources, the manpower and the time available to rehabilitate truly aggressive animals.
This is one of those stories where everyone is going to take a side depending on their personal beliefs. So, here’s my belief: I believe Animal Control does the best they can with the animals that they can help, but not all of them can be helped.
Beliefs aside, here are some facts:
• Animal Control has one full-time employee and two part-time employees. Pettrey, in her budget requested for 2017-18, asked that one of her employees be increased to full time. She did a very good job at expressing her need for a full-time individual. That request was immediately rejected by the county Health and Welfare Committee with statements made the additional funds would not be approved by the county Budget and Finance Committee.
• Animal Control has between 100 and 150 animals on a regular basis in a very small facility. Time and time again I’ve heard them ask for additional space to properly care for the animals. The county approved the purchase of a shed to keep animal food so that room could be used as additional space. I would say the room is eight feet by eight feet, which isn’t big at all.
If the facility is restricted to minimal staff and minimal room. How can they dedicate time and space to rehabilitating one animal? I have one dog and I don’t see how they can take care of so many.
While we might disagree on why the dog was aggressive, I think we can all agree that it was. If you can’t touch it, it’s aggressive. Pettrey’s job description does not include knowingly putting herself in harm’s way. If that dog would have bitten a person who had spent days feeding it, it would have bitten anyone else. I really can’t blame Pettrey for not wanting to touch it. She should be allowed to make that decision.
As is always the case, people do wrong by their pets and it’s the animal that ends up paying the price. We may never know who this dog belonged to, but they are to blame for its situation. Zero doubt about that.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.