The Knox County Dog Warden and a group of Knox County officials have taken a series of measures, including weekly voluntary inspections, to remedy conditions at the “Pittie Paws” Dog Rescue in Eastern Knox County. Beginning on August 27, 2018, the Dog Warden, accompanied by representatives of the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Knox County Health Department, inspected the property and gave the owners timelines to remedy several conditions they observed, beginning with poor ventilation of the dog kennels. John Carhart, Knox County Dog Warden, reported that he and his staff conducted a follow-up inspection on September 12, and the ventilation issues had been remedied to provide adequate air flow for the dogs.
The August 27 inspection also resulted in findings that will need to be addressed on a thirty-day timeframe, including lighting, damaged kennel panels, and mold. During the Dog Warden’s inspections, none of the dogs present appeared to be neglected or abused, although some dogs were underweight. During the visit to “Pittie Paws” on the 27th and following inspection visits, the owners voluntarily surrendered 14 dogs to the Dog Warden. Most of these were the underweight dogs. One of the dogs had to be euthanized after consultation with a veterinarian.
On August 27, the Dog Warden photographed and processed registration paperwork for all of the 59 dogs at the “Pittie Paws” facility.
The Dog Warden continues to monitor the voluntary compliance of “Pittie Paws” and the condition of the dogs by weekly voluntary inspections. He has provided regular updates to the commissioners and prosecuting attorney on the conditions and the county is prepared to take legal action if the conditions violate Ohio’s animal cruelty laws. In the meantime, the Dog Warden is ready to accept more voluntary surrenders of dogs from the rescue. Based upon his investigation, Warden Carhart believes that as many as 20 of the dogs have bite histories or histories of aggression against people.
Knox County Prosecuting Attorney Chip McConville stated that Ohio animal cruelty laws require specific evidence for charges to be proved. “Ohio law requires evidence that animals are either actively, or by neglect, suffering needless pain because of lack of food, water, shelter or cruelty,” he said. “While the conditions at ‘Pittie Paws’ are not ones that most of us would want for our pets, the reports I have received from the Dog Warden do not rise to the legal definition of animal cruelty.”
The Knox County Commissioners, Health Department, and Prosecuting Attorney are monitoring the situation and meeting regularly with the Dog Warden.