Animal rights groups are outraged with a dog warden in rural Ohio who seized 37 rescued dogs from a woman’s property and killed them in a homemade gas chamber.
According to Life With Dogs, Ruth Wilder had been rescuing stray dogs and bringing them to live on her 5.5 acre property outside Ripley, Ohio for years.
But her good intentions might have outweighed her means to care for the dogs and she was visited on several occasions by Brown County dog warden Andrew Dunn over concern about the condition of the animals.
Dunn described the dogs as being thin and possibly having a contagious condition called mange.
And that is the excuse Dunn used on February 10 when he seized all of Wilder’s dogs and brought them to the Brown County Animal Shelter where he had them immediately killed in a crude homemade gas chamber.
The repercussion of this coldhearted act has ignited a heated debate between the Ohio SPCA that says Dunn illegally removed the animals and inhumanely euthanized them and Brown County commissioners who say Dunn was within his legal authority to kill the “sickly” dogs.
The Ohio SPCA accuses Dunn of sidestepping the normal procedures that would have placed the dogs under a 72-hour hold before being euthanized.
This would have allowed Wilder to claim her dogs and get medical help for them.
They also criticized Dunn for using a gas chamber, rather than the more humane method of lethal injection. And they questioned Brown County for having a homemade gas chamber, rather than a commercially-built unit that meets specific standards.
The group doesn’t understand why Dunn didn’t explore other options to killing the dogs. The Ohio SPCA said they have a mobile unit that could have been brought to Wilder’s property to access the health of the dogs. And they have funds that could have been used to treat the dogs that had mange.
But according to assistant warden David Hurst, the actions Dunn took were typical of how the shelter is run.
Hurst told WLWT News, “Up until recently, the dog warden has used the gas chamber primarily for putting down animals. He said they would put the animals in carriers, place as many carriers as possible inside and then use the gas. He said it could take up to 40 minutes for the dogs to die.”
The Brown County commissioners stopped the use of gas chambers after the 37 innocent dogs died. But they continue to defend Dunn’s seizure of the animals and quick euthanasia.
Jack Scott who ran the Brown County Humane Society for ten years told a Cincinnati television station that rural counties do not have the money or space to take care of 37 dogs that may have mange.
He said, “….it’s a constant struggle, and the money to treat mange, for that many dogs would be in the thousands of dollars.”
The Ohio SPCA is demanding the shelter release all of their records for their inspection. They are considering taking legal action against the county over the heartless incident.
CALL TO ACTION: Please sign the petiton so the 37 rescued dogs get their justice.
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