The dog warden’s office currently has two full-time employees — Ousley and deputy dog warden Josh Jasinski — and two part-time workers.
In 2017, the dog warden brought 352 dogs to the pound. Ousely said in 2008 or 2009, his office picked up as many as 700 to 800.
“We are bringing in about half of what we were. Any time you bring in less is a good thing,” he added.
Considering how many complaints his agency receives about dogs being outside in the cold, Ousley said it would take a facility as large as three football fields to house them all and there’s nothing in Huron County that could do that.
But the truth is, the dog warden said he and his deputies don’t have the legal power to go to home and seize an animal without a warrant; all they can do is make suggestions to residents when a dog is being left outside.
“We have to stay in the law,” Ousley said.
Boose said he sees the job of the dog warden is picking up stray dogs, finding their owners as soon as possible and if that’s not possible, putting the animals up for adoption.
“I truly believe he is doing that,” the commissioner added. “I truly believe Gary is doing his job.”
Ousely said there were 11 dogs euthanized in 2017, eight of which were at the request of the owners.
Huron County Prosecutor James Joel Sitterly said a dog warden must follow the Ohio Revised Code and be consistent with it.
“It’s not a policy the county dictates,” he added.
In recent months, Ousley said an advocacy group called Huron County Second Chance K-9s has had an “ongoing battle” with him and his office, which most often is fought on Facebook.
Ousley said he wants to make it clear the dog warden’s office isn’t associated with Huron County Second Chance K-9s and has no relationship with it. In fact, he wants the group to remove “Huron County” from its name.
“They are animal lovers who want things done immediately, but it doesn’t work that way,” added Ousley, who noted this isn’t the first time people have complained about the agency.
Huron County Second Chance K-9s, on its Facebook page, says it “was formed to help dogs at the Huron County Dog Pound find loving homes” and “our bigger goal is to help raise funds for a better facility.” The organization consists of “a small group of concerned Huron County residents and animal lovers.”
“We believe every dog deserves a loving home. We network, share the dogs’ photos and information and raise funds to help the dogs in the Huron County Dog Pound. Our long-term goal includes a new facility with a play area and outside access,” according to the Facebook page.
Representative Janet Ketchum couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.
After Huron County Second Chance K-9s had some initial fundraising efforts or ideas, Ousley said some of the members “wanted to walk the dogs,” but they were told “it was not the best idea” since the pound has stray dogs and the members aren’t familiar with them.
Boose was asked about the commissioners’ thoughts on the organization.
“I appreciate they are trying to do something. They are trying to do something for the animals,” he said. “What they want us to do is a little more than what is required to do (by the state).”