NEWARK — The Licking County Humane Society will reply to experiences of animal abuse within the metropolis of Newark starting March 1, in accordance to a brand new contract.
Since final yr’s departure of Toby Wills, town’s animal management officer, the Newark Police Department has responded to experiences of cruelty, abuse and neglect of animals inside metropolis limits. Wills moved to the property upkeep division.
Now, LCHS Humane Officer Kennedy Wood might be tasked with these tasks. The regulation permits the humane agent to examine alleged animal abuse, beating, or different cruelty; improper feeding, watering, sheltering, or care; unsanitary situations; and animals deserted by a identified or deceased proprietor.
The humane society can work with home animals resembling canine, cats and rabbits, and cattle resembling horses, cattle, goats, pigs and sheep.
Lori Carlson, government director of the LCHS, stated it is necessary residents know what the humane agent can and can’t do.
“If we get a referral alleging animal cruelty, the officer screens circumstances and will provoke an investigation,” Carlson stated. “The aim is to educate pet homeowners. The majority of the time we simply want to present schooling, but when it’s a extra egregious scenario and places the animal’s life at risk, or places any life at risk, we will confiscate animals and get a search warrant.”
Vicious and stray canine fall underneath the accountability of the Licking County Dog Shelter, Carlson stated. The humane agent additionally can not reply to referrals concerning feral or stray canine or cats, barking canine, nuisance cats, injured stray canine, vicious canine, or injured wildlife.
Newark City Council accepted a contract with the Licking County Humane Society on Feb. 7, permitting it to implement Ohio Revised Code 959.13. The contract begins March 1 and ends Feb. 28, 2023, however is renewable for 2 further one-year intervals.
The metropolis pays the humane society $103,290 to present the service for one yr. Safety Director Tim Hickman advised metropolis council it could price about $79,000 simply to fill Wills’ former place.
“We’re taking a look at a a few $24,000 distinction in hiring somebody and contracting out,” Hickman stated. “So, what does that $24,000 get us? First of all, we aren’t simply hiring a single individual; we’re bringing in a complete group and all of their sources.
“We could have a skilled humane agent who’s assigned particularly to town of Newark. We could have across the clock protection 24/7, 365. The largest challenge is animals require veterinary care and wish to be boarded someplace and cared for, and we lacked that. We gained’t have an officer responding to each single animal welfare grievance.”
Chief Eric McKee stated the police division responded to 896 animal welfare complains from Feb. 1, 2021 to Feb. 1, 2022. Those responses included something from barking canine to a deer struck. Of the 896 calls, eight have been severe sufficient to require an investigation
“We have been working with the humane society as a lot as we might within the final yr,” McKee stated. “Without a contract, it was restricted in how a lot we might do. We are very excited to have this partnership.”
The chief stated there should be instances a police officer responds to such a grievance after which calls the humane agent, if obligatory.
Carlson stated the LCHS has one other officer for the county’s unincorporated areas. Wood has been the reduction officer, however with her new project, a brand new part-time reduction officer might be employed as a back-up.
In the final yr, the humane society acquired 310 referrals, Carlson stated, however 104 concerned one thing outdoors their authority, resembling stray cats or barking canine. The remaining 206 have been investigated and on 97% of them, the humane society offered schooling for the proprietor and prevented having the animals eliminated.
Still, there have been greater than 100 animals confiscated final yr, Carlson stated. Sometimes, the proprietor surrenders the animal, however different instances a court docket might terminates their rights.
“We aren’t within the enterprise of creating animals homeless,” Carlson stated. “We intend to work with individuals, offering schooling and different sources to assist them meet the requirements of the regulation.”
Licking County Humane Society
Shelter location: 825 Thornville Drive, Heath.
Online: For info on adopting pets, go to lchspets.org.
Hours: 12-6 p.m. Monday; 12-7 p.m. Tuesday; closed Wednesday; 12-6 p.m. Thursday; 12-4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.