STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Board of Health learned an Amsterdam couple is continuing efforts to sanitize and clean a house that was the center of an animal cruelty case earlier this month.
Health Department Sanitarian Mark Maragos on Tuesday told board members he visited the home of Donald and Valorie Myler on May 16, "and they have basically gutted the house of all furniture and belongings."
"They have made arrangements with MPW Industrial Cleaning to sanitize and disinfect the entire interior of the house. I also spoke to the Amsterdam police chief who said the couple are cleaning up the property," said Maragos.
RESPONSE UNIT — Jefferson County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Jack McGuire stood in front of the new Public Health Infrastructure Emergency Response Unit. McGuire said the mobile unit will be used for epidemic or pandemic situations to help the vulnerable population in the county. - Dave Gossett
"I went to the Myler home at their invitation. We will determine if the house is habitable," added Maragos.
Donald Myler was charged this month with 33 counts of animal cruelty and 16 counts of no dog registration after the Amsterdam police found 34 dogs starving in his house at 112 Euclid St.
The dogs were taken to the Jefferson County Animal Shelter.
In other matters Tuesday, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Jack McGuire displayed the new three-room Public Health Infrastructure Emergency Response Unit.
"This unit will serve the city of Steubenville and Jefferson County in the event of an epidemic or pandemic. We have been working for five years now to obtain the funding to purchase the mobile unit. It cost about $45,000 and was funded through the Ohio Department of Health," explained McGuire.
"In the event of an emergency our job will be to go out to areas where people do not have ready access to medical personnel. Every county in the state has to develop the ability to provide resources to all residents within 48 hours. We will respond to natural and manmade disasters," said McGuire.
"Our goal will be to provide services to the vulnerable population throughout the county," added McGuire.
"The first room will be where the patient will be given a physical and provide a medical health history to the health personnel. The patient will move into the second room where the medical resources will be provided and the third room is a waiting area to make sure the patient is OK after receiving medical help," explained McGuire.
"This is a very important addition to our health department. It is very important for us and the city health department to be able to respond in a timely fashion to give immunizations to the public in the event of an emergency. When we had the flooding in the Glen Robbins area we could have used this mobile unit there to assist residents," noted Jefferson County Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz.
The board also learned Misselwitz is considering terminating an agreement to provide a part-time sanitarian to Harrison County.
"Their director is still off sick but I learned over the weekend they are now advertising for a part-time sanitarian. We are providing them with a sanitarian eight hours a week, but I think it is time to review the agreement and consider ending it," stated Misselwitz.
He also told the health board that Environmental Logistics, the corporation that owns the Apex Sanitary Landfill near Amsterdam, is debating a late fee penalty imposed by the health department.
"The landfill representative called to say only the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency can charge a late fee. We are referring the matter to Assistant County Prosecutor Emanuela Agresta," said Misselwitz.
He said the landfill owes the health department $5,489.42 in late fees.
Misselwitz also said the health department received 24 odor complaints regarding the Apex landfill in April, "and 28 odor complaints in May as of this morning."