Sunday, June 21, 2009

Search set for dogs without licenses-OH

Tom Skeldon is at it again......

By John W. Goodwin Jr.

The sweep will begin Monday and run eight weeks.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Mahoning County dog warden will begin a county-wide sweep in search of unlicensed dogs beginning Monday, but one city woman already has appeared before a judge concerning her unlicensed pit bull.

Annabel Reyes of Canton Street appeared before Judge Robert P. Milich in Youngstown Municipal Court on Friday to face misdemeanor charges of failing to register her three-year-old pit bull, not keeping the animal under control and not maintaining insurance on the dog. She was released on her own recognizance and will appear in court Aug. 13.

Mike Fox, dog warden, said his office was called to Reyes’ home by a concerned citizen who complained that the dog was not being properly restrained.

According to Fox, the dog broke loose from a chain near the home and chased an elderly woman in the neighborhood. The woman was not bitten by the dog.

Prosecutors told Judge Milich that the woman was not injured, and the dog is being housed at the county dog pound.

“The dog will likely be put to sleep,” said Fox. “Pit bulls in Ohio are breed-specific dogs, and owners are required to not only license them but insure their dogs for $100,000, secure the dog in a locked pen and keep a chain-linked leash when walking. In this case none of those were being followed.”

Fox said situations like the Reyes incident are what he hopes to avoid with an eight-week sweep through the county searching for unlicensed dogs beginning Monday.

According to Fox, one deputy dog warden, accompanied by several workers from the Mahoning County Training Association, will canvass the county from one community to the next looking for dogs without licenses. Those without proper documentation for their pets will be ticketed.

Fox said he is not concerned about any legal questions concerning the sweep because those conducting the sweep will do nothing illegal.

“My people don’t enter homes, they do not look in windows, and they stay on the sidewalk. We are not doing any searches and seizures or anything illegal,” he said. “It is my job to make sure dogs are licensed. This is part of how I do my job.”

Fox encourages dog owners without a license to purchase one before those conducting the canvass reach their homes.