The city of Portsmouth will enter into an agreement with Scioto County that will give the Scioto County Dog Warden jurisdiction inside the city limits. The item is on the city manager’s agenda for Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting.
On Oct. 5, 2016, the city received a letter from the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office written on behalf of the Scioto County Commissioners and the Scioto County Dog Warden demanding the city of Portsmouth enter into an agreement or the Scioto County Dog Warden would refuse to accpt dogs or other animals seized by the city’s animal control officer after Nov. 15, 2016 unless their terms were met.
The correspondence went on to say the Scioto County Dog Warden was without authority to operate in the city of Portsmouth by law.
“As Council may recall, during the summer of 2016, while the city’s animal control officer was on vacation, an emergency situation was uncovered within the city wherein numerous dogs were found to be living in inhabitable conditions,” City Manager Derek K. Allen said in his correspondence with City Council. “Calls for assistance to the Scioto County Dog Warden went without response allegedly due to the claim the dog warden had no jurisdiction in the city. The lack of jurisdiction claim is wholly without merit.”
Allen said a meeting was held between the parties and an agreement was reached wherein the dog warden and county officially recognized the dog warden has jurisdiction in the city as is required by law to patrol, confiscate and house non-licensed and/or vicious dogs or another animals county-wide as clearly set forth in the Ohio Revised Code.
“In fact, the discussion during the meeting exposed the city has undertaken the dog warden’s statutorily mandated job in the city at significant cost to the city’s taxpayers and at no cost to the county,” Allen continued. “This fact, along with the position of the City Solicitor that the Animal Control Officer title could be abolished thereby requiring the County Dog Warden to perform its responsibilities county-wide, including the city, at its own cost, put an end to the demand for money from the city to house dogs at the County Dog Pound.”
The proposed agreement cites Ohio Revised Code Section 955.12 – “that the board of county commissioners shall appoint or employ a county dog warden and deputies in such number, for such periods of time, and at such compensation as the board considers necessary to enforce sections 955.01 to 955.27 and 955.50 to 955.53 of the Revised Code.”
The agreement cites Section 955.12 that provides that the county dog warden and deputies shall patrol their respective counties and seize and impound on sight all dogs found running at large and all dogs more than three months of age found not wearing a valid registration.
The main part of the agreement that deals with the current issue reads – “That the Scioto County Dog Warden shall have jurisdiction throughout the county including within the city limits of the city of Portsmouth with respect to dogs found running at large and all dogs more than three months of age found not wearing a valid registration tag.”
It goes on to agree that the city Animal Control Officer may bring dogs to the Scioto County Dog Pound after making every reasonable effort to notify the owner and inform such owner of the conditions whereby custody of the animal may be regained, that the city of Portsmouth Animal Control Officer shall contact the Scioto County Dog Pound prior to delivering any animal to the Scioto County Dog Pound for impound. That the city Animal Control Officer or Health Department will contact the dog pound prior to accepting a dog as an owner surrender to ensure that there is sufficient space available to impound the dog at the pound.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.