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Lucas County Dog Warden Controversy - 04/17/2010
Amos is safe: for now.
Maybe I should call him Famous Amos, because he has become the Poster Dog for the controversy swirling around the Lucas Co. Dog Warden's office. Amos has the misfortune of being a "pit bull" in Lucas County, which isn't good for him. He was found a couple days ago running loose, and now he could be euthanized simply for being what he is, because in Ohio, we kill dogs based solely on their breed. Many people argue that dogs are bred to have certain behaviors, and "pit bulls" are bred to be mean. The problem with this argument is that what they call a "pit bull" is not an actual breed at all, but can be any combination of certain breeds like Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Terrier. Many of these breeds have strong personalities, which in the hands of the stupid, can be a problem, but they are not inherently mean. I've groomed dogs for 20 years, and never met a "pit bull" yet that scared me. On the other hand, just last week one of the girls I work with was bitten pretty badly-- by a golden retriever.
But back to our lovely Lucas County. We got rid of our old dog warden, Tom Skeldon, because his policies were so draconian he made himself into the archetypal Evil Dogcatcher of Disney movies. Most of us in the pet business here in Toledo were happy to see him go. So now we have Julie Lyle, and from what I've read about her in The Blade, she seems like a well qualified person who is eager to change the way her office is run. So what's the problem? We should be doing a happy dance right?
Well, that would be fine except our County Administrator, Peter Ujvagi, seems to think he can run the Pound better than her. She tried to temporarily stop some euthanasias from happening, a list that included Amos, while she looked over and evaluated the dogs, and Mr. Ujvagi told her to quit trying to change policy so soon, she "needed time to get used to her job". What the heck?? It all smells like paternalism to me. Mr Ujgavi hasn't been County Administrator all that long, but I bet nobody told him he needed time to get used to his job. And I bet if Ms. Lyle were a man, she wouldn't be told that either. Ms Lyle has plenty of experience with animals, and I hope they hired her because they thought she was qualified, and not because they thought she would be easy to push around.
Thankfully, our county commissioners are going to vote next week on some policy changes. For 12 dogs on the kill list, this comes a week too late. But for now, Amos is safe.