I have been covering meetings in Mahoning Township for the TIMES NEWS the last six years and previously Summit Hill Borough's meetings as well as having been a councilman in Summit Hill for two years. I have often questioned what exactly the role of the County K-9 Officer was as well as local police in dealing with nuisance animals in our municipalities.
From the time I started covering these stories and as a father myself, I guess I have become more aware and vigilant of my daughter's safety and the world around us so when residents are talking about how they are worried about their children I can empathize with them. Repeatedly I have wondered exactly what the County K-9 Officer Bruce May does. According to the county's website he is the county's animal control officer and manages the county animal shelter. What I don't understand is how these nuisance and dangerous animals get to the shelter, magic?
I know when I was a councilman the police did not get into the business of picking up dogs and transporting them to the shelter especially if they were nasty. My colleagues and myself were led to believe that was the county animal control officer's job. Fortunately nothing tragic happened that we had to worry about this while I held office, but I know that we questioned what exactly the function of the office was and why we had to pay to the county a fee each year for his service. Most of us never saw him in the borough and we never received any report about what exactly our borough's money was purchasing.
Last year Mahoning Township resident Elaine Hughes told supervisors how her peacocks got torn apart by two pit bulls owned by Joseph Frey who allegedly lets the animals roam freely in the township. Several residents told supervisors how the animals destroyed their property and livestock, threatened their safety and their pets. Last year they were told the police would deal with it. Hughes specifically said after her birds were killed the K-9 Officer promised they would not bother her. The promise lasted a week before they returned to try to kill her cat.
Now a year later, another resident told supervisors her son watched as the two animals tore apart his chickens. And what satisfaction do these terrorized residents have from the police who are supposed to protect them and the K-9 Officer who is supposed to deal with this situation? Allegedly the police have taken the complaint and pushed them toward K-9 Officer May and May allegedly has pushed them back to the police.
If the police or Animal Control Officer May do not do something about this situation, these dogs may hurt a child or worse. There are ordinances on the books to deal with this problem and laws that should be enforced. If a child is maimed or killed in the township while these dogs roam free, it will fall directly on the heads of those who are supposed to protect us. Hopefully the Mahoning Township supervisors will be able to get their employees and May to solve this problem before someone gets hurt.