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OH: Pit bull’ transfers to rescue rejected


Published: Wednesday, 12/30/2015 - Updated: 2 days ago

‘Pit bull’ transfers to rescue rejected
Dogs still often go to Pit Crew

WAUSEON — The Fulton County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously voted down a proposal that would have allowed the Lucas County Pit Crew to transfer “pit bull†dogs directly from the county pound.

An amendment to a June resolution permitting the transfer of “pit bulls†and “pit bull†mixes not claimed by an owner to “humane societies†would have added the Pit Crew specifically as an approved transfer partner.

The resolution was tabled at the Dec. 22 meeting after President Bill Rufenacht requested additional time to research the matter.

The commissioners voted no on Tuesday without discussing the resolution and their research or offering explanations for their votes.

During a meeting recess, Commissioner Jeff Rupp declined to comment to The Blade. Mr. Rufenacht said he felt the current setup is sufficient.

“We’ve made a lot of changes in the last several months,†he said. “We’ve allowed area humane societies to transfer dogs out. That seems to have worked very well.â€

Previously, any “pit bull†or “pit bull†mix at the pound was killed if not claimed by an owner.

Mr. Rufenacht and Commissioner Paul Barnaby acknowledged they are aware several Fulton County “pit bulls†were transferred to the Pit Crew after being pulled by humane societies. County Administrator Vond Hall told The Blade he proposed the policy change to “eliminate one step.â€

Since June, five “pit bulls†have been transferred to rescues. The first was pulled by the Henry County Humane Society shortly before he was to be killed and immediately transferred to the Pit Crew. The second was a young dog transferred to the Toledo Area Humane Society. The remaining three were pulled by the Fulton County Humane Society and immediately transferred to the Pit Crew.

Four of the five have been adopted. The fifth is in a Pit Crew foster home.

Mr. Barnaby voted against the original transfer policy change, and told The Blade he hasn’t altered his position against “pit bulls†and believes the dogs are dangerous.

“My philosophy has been not to let ‘pit bulls’ out of our sight,†he said.

Jean Keating, executive director of the Pit Crew, was on Tuesday’s agenda to present information to the commissioners about the rescue, though officials had scheduled her time slot after a vote on the proposed amendment and various other resolutions. She was unable to attend because of illness and spoke with The Blade by phone Tuesday afternoon, calling the commissioners’ decision disappointing.

“We’ve tried very hard to work with them and make some progress, collaborate,†she said. “Quite frankly, they just continue to show us over and over again that they’re not interested in working with us.â€

Ms. Keating attended the Dec. 22 meeting when the amendment was tabled. She said the Pit Crew was never contacted for information, despite Mr. Rufenacht’s request for time to conduct more research.

“They are doing what they are doing based purely on their own personal emotion. It’s politics at its worst,†she said.

Mr. Barnaby told The Blade there was “an incident†with a Pit Crew dog in Fulton County over the weekend that contributed to his negative vote. Ms. Keating confirmed the rescue is dealing with a number of officials regarding a “minor incident†with a dog that had been adopted last week by a Fulton County family. She declined to elaborate, citing an ongoing and tense investigation.

“There has never been this much back-and-forth regarding any incident with any dog in Fulton County ever,†she said.

Four Fulton County residents attended the meeting in support of the amendment, though they were not given an opportunity to speak. No one was present to oppose the amendment.

Carol Dopp is a Chesterfield Township resident and co-organizer of the grass-roots group Fulton County No Kill that has been investigating the pound’s operations for about two years and advocating for change. Mrs. Dopp volunteers for the Pit Crew and the Fulton County Humane Society, which she says deals only with cats but has agreed to pull “pit bulls†from the pound for the Pit Crew.

She personally picked up from the pound the three dogs pulled by the Fulton County Humane Society and immediately taken to the Pit Crew. Mrs. Dopp said county officials have been fully aware of the dogs’ ultimate destination when she picked them up.

“I’m disappointed that I’m going to have to continue to play this game,†she said.

Read more at ‘Pit bull’ transfers to rescue rejected - Toledo Blade