Concerns raised about actions at shelter

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County commissioners are expected Thursday to meet in executive session with the county’s dog warden and the county’s Humane Society to discuss concerns about how dogs are euthanized at the county’s animal shelter and animal abuse allegations.

Allegations about the number of dogs euthanized and abuse of dogs at the shelter were recently posted on Facebook.

County Commissioner David Maple said he talked with Bill Bell, the county’s dog warden, about the number of dogs euthanized. Maple said Bell showed him documents that Bell claims details the number of dogs killed is actually lower since the new animal shelter opened nearly two years ago. The shelter has room for 40 dogs.

Maple said the percentage of dogs killed is down compared to the old shelter. Maple said there have been more adoptions of dogs thanks to a cooperative agreement with the county’s Humane Society.

“We will be investigating these allegations. We need to go through them piece by piece,” he said.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham said the commissioners will meet in executive session with the county’s Humane Society and then with Bell.

“The accusations are serious enough to warrant an investigation,” he said. “On the surface, we don’t know where these allegations came from and we need to determine if it is credible. We need to get to the bottom of this.”

Graham said the commissioners have been told the number of dogs euthanized at the shelter is lower than what was happening at the old animal shelter.

County Commissioner Tom Gentile didn’t return calls requesting a comment.

The Columbus Dispatch in October did a story detailing the dog kill rates at animal shelters throughout the state. Jefferson County was one of three counties that didn’t respond to a request for information for that story.