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Dog issues still concern of Mahoning residents

Published May 11. 2011 05:00PM

Several residents appeared again before Mahoning Township supervisors to discover what has transpired since they attended last month's meeting regarding two large dogs that have been preying on pets and livestock in the township. Supervisors informed them one dog was reportedly turned into the county animal shelter while the other will be surrendered in the near future due to a litter she was rearing. But one resident questioned whether this really happened.

"The dogs were reportedly seen passing through my neighbor's yard on May 6th," said resident Brandon Everett who owned three chickens, a peacock and a duck that were all killed by the dogs last month. Everett asked supervisors when the pit bull was surrendered.

Mahoning Township Chairperson John Wieczorek said he received a letter stating the pit bull had been surrendered to County K-9 officer Bruce May at the animal shelter on May 5th, and the other dog would be surrendered around Labor Day after its litter was weaned.

Supervisor George Stawnyczyj immediately questioned the timing. "It's my understanding the puppies are already five weeks old. Labor Day seems like quite a while to wait before turning the dog in. I would think the dogs would be weaned by Memorial Day." Wieczorek questioned the date as well and said he would check to see if an error was made and if the report should have said Memorial Day.

Wieczorek asked Everett if he was sure it was the pit bull Everett was referring to when he said the neighbors saw them on May 6th. Everett said he did not see the dogs, but said the neighbors believed it were the two dogs although Everett himself said he did not know if the owners had other dogs that may have been roaming free as well.

"I will follow up with the police and check on this situation," said Wieczorek.

Resident Connie Christman asked supervisors what happened since the last meeting stating that since a phone call she received, she had not heard anything since. Wieczorek said he spoke with Police Chief Ken Barnes and May and they told him they explored the situation further and felt they had a plan of action in hand so there was no need for a meeting.

Christman asked, "What is your policy in general now? If this happens in the future, what will be done?"

Ruch also asked what would be done if the K-9 shelter was closed during the time a dog would be picked up as a result of a complaint. "I would like to see our officers have access to the county shelter with a key if the place is closed when a dog is seized."

"I thought there was going to be a caged area here to hold a dog temporarily," said Christman referring to her conversation with a police officer.

Stawnyczyj said at one time there was a kennel on the township grounds but it was removed years ago. "I'm not sure why it was taken down, but it's entirely possible it did not meet state regulations when it was checked," he said. Stawnyczyj said he thought the kennel that was once there probably pre-dated current regulations which is why it was removed.

Wieczorek said there were no plans to place another kennel on the property and that he would follow up on the idea of getting a key for the shelter. He asked if someone told Christman the township was placing a kennel.

Christman said no one committed to the idea of having a kennel on the municipal property, but said that it was an idea that came up in the conversation.

Wieczorek reiterated there is no plans for a township kennel and there was never any discussion about one. He said he would follow up on the possibility of accessing the shelter as well as checking with the officers about how future incidents will be handled. In addition, he will check on the alleged sighting of the dog a day after it was supposedly turned in to the county to see if there are other dogs causing problems.

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