LIMA — Lima City Council’s Neighborhood Concerns committee dealt with the topic of animal welfare Monday night, prior to the regular council meeting.
Assistant Law Director Anthony DiPietro discussed what laws already exist in Ohio and in Indiana.
Some of the laws he discussed dealt with tethering and cruelty and abuse of companion animals.
He informed members of the committee about Ohio laws regarding cruelty to animals. He said a dog owner can also be charged locally or by state statute — but could only be convicted of one or the other, not both.
As for tethering, the council considered formulating an ordinance that would restrict tethering from the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. during the warmer months of the year.
The City of Lima doesn’t have a dog warden and uses the services of the Allen County Dog Warden.
After 5 p.m., those services are not available and the council wants to see if there’s a solution.
DiPietro said Lima police officers could cite an animal owner if the Allen County dog warden is not available.
Deb Helser, of the rescue Deb’s Dogs, told the committee she was concerned about humane officers suffering from burnout because of the nature of the job and the low pay.
“It’s a full-time non-ending job,” said Helser.
Melissa Bowers, with Allicats rescue, also complained the officers were stretched thin and were taking on other duties besides investigating animal cruelty, like cleaning cages.
“They have a lot more job tasks. It’s going to burn you out fast,” said Bowers.
Some of the discussion centered around funding additional humane officers to handle the after-hours calls.
“Why don’t Lima get their own?” asked Derry Glenn, sixth ward councilor.
Ultimately it’s up to Allen County Commissioners to decide whether to increase their budget to fund additional officers.
Glenn said he would approach Allen County Commissioners and attend Thursday’s meeting to try and find a solution to the lack of after-hours enforcement by the county dog warden’s office. He also wants to go to State Rep. Robert Cupp and State Sen. Matt Huffman and see what help the state can give as far as cruelty and tethering laws go.
Council asked the law director to draw up potential legislation for consideration at a future meeting.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.