The dogs of Lucas County have 11 new best friends.
Two months after forming a Dog Warden Advisory Committee, county commissioners yesterday appointed the members.
Drawn from different professions and walks of life, most are dog lovers to varying degrees.
After we got our first house and our son was born, almost the first thing we got was a dog, committee member Rob Ludeman said.
We wanted him to grow up with one. Everyone in my family has at least one dog, but about half of us have two.
Not all of the committee members can own a dog, however.
Lucas County Health Commissioner David Grossman said he and his wife are away from home too much to give a dog the attention it requires.
They own a cat.
The committee is officially charged with providing county commissioners with recommendations for improvements to the dog warden agency, headed since 1987 by Tom Skeldon.
The group s first business could be an investigation into the death of Princess, a Pomeranian-beagle mix that died Feb. 10 after being shot with a tranquilizer gun by a deputy dog warden.
Owned by the family of Chad Snyder, 2500 110th St. in Point Place, the 2-year-old dog, which was unlicensed, was shot on the family s porch after getting loose.
Deputy wardens and two police officers followed the dog to the home after responding to citizens calls that it was loose and wandering in and out of traffic. They did not know the dog lived there.
I don t even know if it was proper to shoot a 10-pound dog with a tranquilizer gun, said Commissioner Ben Konop, who called for an immediate investigation by the committee.
Mr. Skeldon attended yesterday s commissioners meeting but declined to take questions from reporters about the dog s death.
He later issued a statement that read: Tranquilizing is a tool that is rarely used in our daily duties. Tranquilizing is sometimes necessary to protect the safety of the public and the health and welfare of a loose dog.
Of the approximately 100 dogs that we tranquilized in the last year, we believe this is the only incident that resulted in a death.
Commissioners Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak voted with Mr. Konop to appoint committee members, but against his subsequent resolution that would have ordered an investigation.
I think it gives some integrity to this committee if we let them make their own decisions, Mr. Gerken said.
The commissioners previously agreed on 10 of the 11 committee members, selected from 29 applications.
Two were selected from the community at large and eight are affiliated with area animal welfare agencies.
There s also a Toledo police officer, a member of the Toledo Veterinary Medical Association, and the county s Health Commissioner.
The movement for an advisory committee grew out of a petition effort last year by 4 Lucas County Pets, a group of pet owners and allies who wanted to see Mr. Skeldon fired.
The effort claimed 3,000 signatures and resulted in a public hearing last fall. Mr. Konop gave early support to the group.
Asked for her take on the new advisory committee, Ms. Wozniak, a first cousin to Dog Warden Skeldon, said: I think you have some good people there. I hope they come with open minds and not hidden agendas, she said.
The committee is expected to have its first meeting within weeks.
Staff writer Carl Ryan contributed to this report.