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Published: Thursday, 5/21/2009

Dog warden may resume door-to-door

The Lucas County Dog Warden Advisory Committee unanimously voted yesterday to recommend that door-to-door checks for licensing dogs be resumed.

The committee's vote will be forwarded to the county commissioners, who ultimately will make the decision.

The license checks were halted last year even though Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon defended the practice under which deputy wardens knocked on the doors of homes and asked residents if they own a dog.

Commissioners Tina Skeldon Wozniak and Ben Konop voted last year to halt the program. Mr. Konop said he was worried the program might impinge on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects citizens against searches without a warrant.

In June, 2008, Wood County Prosecutor Raymond Fischer said officers could go door-to-door without violating Fourth Amendment protections so long as they don't enter a home uninvited.

Lucas County had the highest compliance rate last year with the state law requiring dog owners to purchase a license - but, at $25, it also had the highest license fee.

Committee member Rob Ludeman, who moved for the vote yesterday, said the committee examined the dog warden's revenue statements and agreed the checks would continue, ensuring dog owners pay the fee.

The committee also recommended that the warden not target specific neighborhoods, Mr. Ludeman said.

The 11-member committee was formed by the county commissioners earlier this year in an effort to come up with recommendations for improving the dog warden agency.

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