Letter to the Editor

To The Editor:

I would like to clear up a few misconceptions about the Carroll County Humane Society that have been brought to my attention.

First, let me say that our name was chosen because of the area we serve, we are not a county entity. We receive absolutely no support from the county, villages or state.

The Humane Society of the United States supports themselves and none of the money given to them comes to this area. We get our money from donations and fundraisers. And 100% of that money is spent on animals in this county.

It is truly amazing how seemingly everyone feels what we do should be done free. You want more, give more, it’s that simple.

There are many animal related programs needed in this county, however, they all cost money and that money has to come from you, the people of this county. It sure doesn’t come from your tax dollars.

We paid almost $200,000 over the last 20 plus years for the spay/neuter program, but had to close it due to lack of support. It was available to county residents and many used that program, some more than once. It served a purpose. It slashed the over population of unwanted pets.

With such widespread use it should have been supported by the citizens it served. Well, it wasn’t because everyone remembers a bequeath we were awarded over 20 years ago. They don’t remember we had to go to court to get it and that was substantially less then we were left. All of that money and more was used for the spay/neuter and other animal programs. Continued support for continued services, that’s how it works.

People ask why there are no resources for cats. The answer is simple. Cats are predatory animals. They will hunt and seek out what they need. They need food, water and shelter, sometimes they find that in your back yard. Having free reign they will do what is instinctual to them, eat, sleep and breed.

One female cat can have 15 to 20 kittens a year. Her offspring begins having litters at the ripe old age of four months. You do the math, keeping in mind there are thousands of females breeding. It would be extremely difficult to monitor cats. If you feed them you are responsible for them, and part of that responsibility is to spay/neuter. People who drop animals off along the road should be reported and will be prosecuted, but proof is a must.

Dogs are completely dependant on humans to provide their needs. Therefore because of human faults, they are licensed and required to be restricted to their owner’s property.

We currently provide animal cruelty investigation and low cost rabies clinics. Animal cruelty is a deliberate act to cause harm to an animal. We go after the people responsible for doing that, the animal is the evidence. We DO NOT pick up animals unless they are involved in cruelty case. We have little foster space making owner relinquish impossible. We DO NOT pick up stray animals of any kind. If a pet owner must go to the hospital or to jail, we do not feed their animals for them until they get out. That’s what friends and family are for. And last but not least, we DO NOT pick dead animals off the roadways so please stop calling us to do that.

When we investigate cruelty cases we adhere to the law of the great state of Ohio. Please ask to see an ID badge, if not provided, from anyone who claims to be there due to a complaint on your animals. I am the only legitimate agent for Carroll County. I have received calls from people asking how they can get their animals back and I had not taken them. If I do remove an animal, notice is posted on the property and charges are filed within the 10-day period described by the law.

Not everyone that deals with animals are connected to the Humane Society. If you have an issue, call and ask. You will be given an honest answer to the best of our ability. We have no control over what people do or say. If you are not sure call to find out, don’t call us names and tell everyone how bad we are, that is childish.

In caring for animals there is a huge difference between legal and moral. Most people look at animal’s care morally and that is good, but their idea of cruelty is not the same as the legal definition. Yes, we have the Goddard Law and except for changing the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony, the laws remain basically the same, only the wording has changed. The laws are subject to interpretation by the lawyers and judges, not us.

We must be able to provide beyond a shadow of doubt that a crime has been committed and by whom. An example of that would be your neighbor has a skinny dog so you call that in expecting that we will come in and swoop the dog away. In reality, we go to your neighbor and learn that he feeds his dog every day. Maybe it’s a dog food that is mostly grain or maybe the dog has a health problem that is not caused by negligence, or maybe it’s just a skinny dog. Taking an animal from their owner is a last resort. We offer suggestions and most cooperate. The ones that are dire, or the owner refuses to comply, will be taken to court.

We have three rabies shot clinics in three areas within the county to provide the vaccine at a low cost. This year has been a challenge as to location. We normally have them at Malvern Park, Magnolia Park and fairgrounds. We have done this many years. Now, all of a sudden we are expected to pay a rental fee.

Magnolia was worry free, a heartfelt thank you to them. After some trying, we’ve also reached an agreement with Malvern, so no change there either. Carrollton site is still pending. We normally use the fairgrounds but the fair board wants $200 for two hours. Perhaps it is not known that we must buy the medicine and needle and pay the veterinarian, to there is very little left to pay rent. We are providing a community service.

I guess time will tell if the residents of Carroll County want animals protected from their would-be abusers.

Sheri Berry

Cruelty Investigator

Carroll County Humane Society


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