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Published: Tuesday, 2/24/2009

Konop wants investigation of dog s death

Chad Snyder, right, alongside Ben Konop, said his dog was killed. Chad Snyder, right, alongside Ben Konop, said his dog was killed.

Lucas County Commissioner Ben Konop called Monday for an investigation into the death of a dog after it was tranquilized by a deputy dog warden in Point Place this month.

One of the questions I have is if it is proper to shoot a tranquilizer dart at a 10-pound dog, Mr. Konop said.

He said he decided to investigate the matter after receiving nearly two dozen e-mail complaints.

We want to make sure this never happens again, he said.

Chad Snyder, of 2500 110th St., said his family dog, named Princess, was killed Feb. 10.

Princess was tranquilized and died after fleeing home Feb. 10. Princess was tranquilized and died after fleeing home Feb. 10.

My dog was literally cornered on my own porch, Mr. Snyder said. I think they viciously executed a nonvicious dog.

He said the two-year-old dog was a gift two years ago for his daughter, who is now 4. The dog, a Pomeranian-beagle mix that was unlicensed, escaped from the Snyder home when a back door blew open, Mr. Snyder said.

He admitted fault in not licensing the dog.

Shame on me for not doing that, Mr. Snyder said. But I should have been able to go down and pay my fine and get my dog back, but they had already gotten rid of her.

Mr. Konop said he wants a yet-to-be-formed dog warden advisory panel to review the incident.

The 11-member panel is expected to be appointed Tuesday morning by the commissioners.

The county commissioners are going to appoint an advisory board, and I imagine there will be all sorts of questions then so no comment until then, Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon said.

He declined to elaborate.

Lucas County Administrator Mike Beazley said the dog warden used tranquilizer darts on 100 dogs last year and none died, according to information provided to him.

They believe it saves more dogs than it harms, Mr. Beazley said. This would seem to be an excellent use of this advisory committee as the policy related to the darting of dogs.

Pete Gerken, president of the board of commissioners, said he would support having the panel investigate the incident.

There are two views of dogs around the city, he said.

Some see them as pets and there are some who see dogs as weapons. I wanted to make sure all points of view are represented on this panel.

Mr. Gerken said the dog warden is a law enforcement officer, charged with enforcement.

He does do it with great zeal and he enforces the law as he sees it, Mr. Gerken said

Twenty-nine people were nominated for the advisory committee. Of those, 10 were nominated by all three commissioners.

They are Dale Emch, a Toledo lawyer, Wilma Brown, a Toledo councilman, Carol Dunn, Tara Kestner, Stephen Serchuck, John Dinon, Rob Ludeman, David Grossman, Matthew Bombrys, and Deborah Johnson.

Mr. Skeldon e-mailed his account of the incident to Mr. Konop on Thursday.

In the e-mail Mr. Skeldon said his office received a call reporting a loose dog at Cherry Pre-School on Ottawa River Road.

When his units arrived, they met two Toledo police officers who also had been called to the scene.

The deputy dog wardens made numerous attempts to catch this dog, which was seen darting in and out of traffic and moving from street to street, Mr. Skeldon wrote.

The dog wardens thought that they had the animal corralled in a fenced-in yard only to have this very skittish animal climb over the fence and take off again. The deputies then called for the dog to be tranquilized, he wrote.

He said the dog then ran up on the porch at 2500 110th, which was a number of blocks from where the original call was located.

The door to the house at 2500 110th was open but no one was home and in checking our records, there was no license on file at that address for this animal The dog was tranquilized and quickly lost consciousness, which it never regained. It died at the pound in the early afternoon of the same day, the e-mail said.

Regarding the use of tranquilizers, Mr. Skeldon wrote: If this tool were not available to us, we believe that more dogs would be shot by the police responding to complaints or executing search warrants.

While we are sorry for the loss of this dog due to these circumstances, we feel that we made every effort to safely capture it, not only to protect the public from this dog, but to protect the animal as well.

There was no mention in the dog warden s account of the incident that Princess was aggressive or tried to bite the officers attempting to catch the dog.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.

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