An Ohio Dog Warden is facing charges after allegedly striking a dog this past Saturday, WTOV News 9 reported September 8.
Jefferson County Dog Warden, William Bell, has been charged with one count of injuring animals and one count of cruelty to animals after striking a dog at the Jefferson County Animal Shelter September 6.
Bell, a long time employee of Jefferson County, is accused of hitting a dog in the head with a shovel. He did it in front of witnesses, many of whom are young volunteers at the county shelter. It was also recorded on video.
Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said in an interview with WTOV9
“One dog was left out in the run area taken into building, and he walked out to look at the dog. The dog was lying down. He walked back into an area and got a shovel and struck the dog with the shovel one time. Looking at the video, you get hit with a shovel it’s gonna hurt. I thought at first it was gonna be a heavy swing where he really hurt that dog, but I don’t think that that’s the way it was, but apparently it was bad enough.”
The dog, a 2-year-old pit bull named Misty, is recovering from injuries to her head and neck.
While News9 hasn’t obtained a copy of the video, Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin has, and what she saw forced her to file charges against Bell. Hanlin explained after receiving her copy on Monday,
“In Ohio, these are both misdemeanors of the second degree. The highest punishment available is 90 days in jail, and that is true whether the dog is injured or even if the dog had been killed, which fortunately it wasn’t in this case. One of the dogs is in a cage alone and doesn’t appear to pose a threat at that time. He goes back into the cage and strikes the animal in the head at that point. And that’s the portion of the incident that we’re concerned about.”
Bell has been placed on paid administrative leave, and won’t be allowed to return to work until a full investigation is conducted.
Kudos to Sheriff Abdalla and Jefferson County Prosecutor Hanlin for doing what’s right and pursuing charges. Not only is Bell a danger to the animals in his care, he’s a poor role model for the young volunteers in his community.
Now if the decision to fire Bell can be arranged, it will restore faith that at least some communities won’t stand by and allow those in authority to abuse animals. Charge him, prosecute him, and punish him to the fullest extent of the law.
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