The Harrison County Dog Pound continues to be "in crisis." The continuing crisis is not the result of too many unwanted dogs at the pound but a failure of the dog warden to perform her duties.
When the dog warden position became available, this job position was not posted and people were not allowed to apply for it! Shortly after Tina Dewalt’s job appointment it became known that Harrision County Commissioner Barbara Pincola wanted Tina to have this position.
In spring, 2011, the Harrison County Board of Commissioners adopted the Harrison County Dog Pound Operational Guidelines. The dog warden, Tina DeWalt, received a copy of the guidelines and was required to read the guidelines and adhere to them. Unfortunately, she has failed to adhere to the guidelines.
According to the guidelines, the dog warden is to perform her duties in a professional manner and conduct herself in a manner that promotes the goals of the County and increases public confidence in the County.
To the contrary, the dog warden refuses to allow certain county residents to enter the dog pound for the purpose of "buying" a dog or obtaining a county required dog license and has stated that if certain county residents come on to the pound property she will have them arrested. This is an illegal action.
The guidelines also state that the dog pound is a service orientated department in which each employee is expected to display the highest degree of courtesy and professionalism to the public.
The dog warden has failed to adhere to this requirement by consistently refusing to return telephone calls and e-mails to dog rescue organizations wanting to rescue dogs from the pound.
Recently a female black Labrador Retriever, Lady, was brought into the pound. The dog warden stated on the internet that the dog was likely pregnant. A very well respected dog rescue organization specializing in rescuing pregnant dogs offered to take Lady. The dog warden stated that she would take Lady to the vet to confirm pregnancy and then call the rescue. The dog warden has yet to call back the rescue. The rescue groups initial contact was on October 03. This is not a lone incident!
Countless rescues have attempted to assist the dog pound by paying the $30 and taking dogs into their rescues. The dog warden has consistently ignored these rescue offers and as a result many dogs have been at the pound in excess of two months!
At this time there is an unknown number of dogs at the pound. Attempts have been made to get the dog warden to properly list all dogs at the pound yet the dog warden continues to refuse to provide this very basic information. The Dog Warden also refuses the help of volunteers to list the dogs on petfinder.com for her.
Consequently the current "crisis" at the pound is creation of an inept dog warden who needs to be replaced.
At this very moment the prosecutors office in Harrison county is reviewing statements from a family who claim Tina Dewalt entered their property and took a dog without permission, after telling them the day before they could keep it.
Apparently, the Harrison County Dog Warden, Tina DeWalt, does not understand the Standards of Conduct in the guidelines for dog pound staff. She has regularly violated the following:
1. Theft - the dog warden, Tina DeWalt, continues to be under investigation by BCI for not reporting all donations to the pound, including the failure to report properly all monetary donations.
2. Unprofessional conduct - the dog warden, Tina DeWalt, has posted inflammatory, derogatory, and slanderous comments on the Facebook page "Harrison County Dog Pound." Remarks have been deleted by the dog warden but many people have saved screen prints of the comments.
4. Refusing to obey the direct order of a supervisor (insubordination) - the dog warden, Tina DeWalt, has refused to maintain the Petfinder site for the pound after being directed to do so by a County Commissioner.
5. Disrespectful conduct coercion, intimidation, or threats of any kind against supervisors, fellow employees, or the public while on duty - the dog warden, Tina DeWalt has posted inflammatory, derogatory and slanderous comments on the county dog pound Facebook pages during work time. Comments have included false accusations that community members have abandoned dogs and she has included the names of community members.
6. Willfully hindering, limiting, or sabotaging County, Departmental, or agency operations or business - the dog warden, Tina DeWalt, has refused to return telephone calls and e-mails from dog rescue organizations willing to pay the $30 fee and take dogs into their rescues thus hindering and limiting the business of the dog pound.
All of these actions should have resulted in the immediate termination of the dog warden, Tina DeWalt, per the Harrison County Dog Pound Operational Guidelines. The only question now to be answered is why is the dog warden still employed?
And the pound still has no exterior walls, only a thin tarp, to protect the dogs from winter weather. Dogs will have frostbite again and ice on their fur if suitable walls and heat are not provided this winter.
They MUST vaccinate the dogs. As of Oct 19 they have a parvo outbreak and are closed to the public. Dogs have died, adopters were not warned.
Please email the county at firstname.lastname@example.org, the local newspaper at email@example.com and BCI at BCI@OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov to tell them about this sad situation and demand change.
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