Dog warden reports on changes at county dog shelter

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County dog warden is not like an old dog that can’t be taught new tricks. Chief Dog Warden Andrew Snyder said Tuesday morning that he is always looking for ways to improve operations at the county dog shelter. Those changes include more visible signage for the shelter, more dog license sales, increased outdoor exercise for the dogs, improvements to the dog park, decreases in dogs euthanized, and increased efforts to find homes for impounded dogs. Last Friday, approximately 50 protesters rallied in downtown Bowling Green to protest dogs being euthanized at the Wood County Dog Shelter. Snyder reported to the county commissioners Tuesday that the dog shelter’s euthanasia rate is 8 percent – far lower than the 40 percent rate a decade ago. Of the 184 dogs impounded so far this year, 81 were reclaimed by their owners, 45 were adopted by new owners, 35 were taken in by rescue organizations, and 15 were euthanized. “I think our adoption statistics show we have a really good relationship with our rescues,” he said. Commissioner Doris Herringshaw asked if some dog owners surrender their dangerous dogs to the shelter for euthanasia. “Do they bring them to you with that in mind?” Snyder said that does occur, and added that some owners drop off older ill dogs. On Monday, the shelter took in four new dogs, he said. One was a pit bull whose owner has been incarcerated, and the family cannot take in the dog because it is aggressive toward other dogs. “We take in a dog like that and do our best to find that dog a home,” Snyder said. But fewer rescue groups are available to take in such dogs. “It’s a never ending process to try to find a home for these dogs.” Snyder reported on some improvements to the commissioners, such as: Revisions to a kennel worker’s hours now allow the dogs to get outdoor exercise time six days a week. A new, more visible sign will be erected at the dog shelter, located in the county complex off East Gypsy Lane Road. Other signage options are being considered at an entrance to the complex. Workers have made more door-to-door checks for dog licenses, which should result in more license sales this year. More “dangerous” dog licenses have been purchased, as required by state law. “So we’re seeing more compliance there,” Snyder said. Changes are also planned at the county dog park, located next to the dog shelter. The three padlocked entrances to the dog park will be replaced with one keypad entrance. That should make it more convenient for members, and more likely they will lock it when leaving. Drainage issues will be fixed, and a water cooler system will be installed, Snyder said. Running water to…

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Art 4 Animals show on exhibit at Four Corners

From BOWLING GREEN ARTS COUNCIL The Bowling Green Arts Council and Four Corners Center is hosting Artists 4 Animals 5 at the Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main Street, from November 10 through November 28th. Thirty-two artists of all ages, kindergarten through adult, are exhibiting their animal-themed work in the show, which is free and open to the public during regular Four Corners hours of 9am to 5pm Monday-Friday. The show features selected top winners in each age category as well as best domestic and wild animal. Several of the artworks depict dogs and cats currently at the Wood County Humane Society, as depicted by Eastwood High School students. First place award winners are: Best Domestic Animal, Anna Gerken, “Begging for Treats” Best Wild Animal, Jean Gidich-Holbrook, “Iguana” Adults, Isabel Zeng “Bunny Ears K-4th Grade, Aya Aldailami, “Two Animals” 5th-8th Grade, Robbie Witte, “Racing Steeds” 9th-12th Grade, Hope Harvey, “Baybee” The winning images are reproduced on note cards that are available for purchase at the Four Corners Center.  Sales of the cards will benefit the Wood County Humane Society and the Bowling Green Arts Council.  This event is sponsored in part by The Copy Shop and Kabob it BG.  

Injured eagle found near BG recovering at Nature’s Nursery

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This bald eagle doesn’t look very proud. She just looks pissed. The injured bald eagle, found east of Bowling Green along the Portage River, is at Nature’s Nursery near Whitehouse, recovering from a chest wound and a drooping wing. The mature female eagle is being given antibiotics and anti-inflammatory meds to help her recover, said Nature’s Nursery Executive Director Steve Kiessling. The cause of the injuries is unknown – but the eagle’s attitude is a promising sign, he said. “We want her mad,” Kiessling said. “She’s very feisty. We like it that she’s not docile. They are wild. We want them to be wild and nasty.” The eagle is currently living in a large windowed closet at the wildlife recovery center. Her floor is scattered with half-eaten rats and fresh walleye. A restaurant, called Local Thyme, has donated 20 pounds of walleye, and promises to keep the fish coming as long as the eagle is at the center. “We try to give them a natural diet as best as we can,” Kiessling said. The bald eagle stands about 2-feet tall, has a wing span of about 5 feet, and weighs about 11 pounds. The staff knows she is a mature adult because bald eagles don’t get their white heads until after age 3. Her talons and beak are long, sharp and in working condition. “The staff has to wear heavy duty gloves for giving meds,” Kiessling said. The eagle is likely to remain in the closet for another three to four weeks, then move to an outdoor cage where it will be less stressful and there are perches of various heights so she can work on moving about. Then she will be transferred to a flight cage to build up strength and be given live mice for meals. “If they can’t catch live food, then they die,” Kiessling said. If she recovers well enough, the eagle will be taken back as close as possible to the area where she was found. “I’m assuming she has a nest somewhere,” he said. Bald eagles are still on the protected species list and are federally protected, so they cannot be hunted. This eagle was found along the river by a man who noticed her struggling with injuries. He captured her himself, Kiessling said. “We don’t encourage people to do that,” he said. Nature’s Nursery prefers that people call first, and let the staff pick up the animals. In most cases, though, the wildlife should just be left alone. It’s a standing joke at Nature’s Nursery that the wildlife hotline should be answered with “Hi, this is Steve. Put it back.” “Most people think they are doing the right thing,” Kiessling said. But baby squirrels that fall out of the nest will be OK. “Leave them…

Area around solar field may be restored to natural habitat

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials hope to save on mowing expenses and provide wildlife habitat all in one plan. Instead of mowing the open grassy areas surrounding the solar field on Carter Road, city officials are suggesting that the acreage become a pollinator habitat. The Board of Public Utilities was presented with the proposal Monday evening by Brian O’Connell, director of public utilities for Bowling Green. While mowing the 12 acres around the solar field doesn’t require a lot of time, it is an expense the city could avoid, O’Connell said. Daryl Stockburger, assistant utilities director, began looking for ways to reduce maintenance and enhance the solar site. He talked with representatives of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service about a grant to help convert the grassy areas into a pollinator habitat as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in the Maumee Area of Concern. The habitat restoration would increase native habitat – such as vegetation, migratory birds and bees – and improve water quality in the watershed, O’Connell said. An agreement would likely require a commitment by the city to allow the pollinator habitat to remain for possibly five to 10 years. That would not be a problem, O’Connell said, since the solar contract has a longer term and there are few options for the narrow strips of land outside the solar field. It has been suggested that the Wood County Park District could maintain the habitat restoration area over the life of the grant. The project could provide educational opportunities for the park district, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green City Schools, and the city. The planting of the 12 acres, which are on the north and south sides of the solar field, would begin in 2018. O’Connell explained that none of the plantings would grow tall enough to shade the solar panels. The board of public utilities supported the proposal. “Taking scrub land we have to cut, and planting flowers,” Matt Paquette said, sounded good to him. Megan Newlove called the idea a “creative solution.” According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, all non-native vegetation will be removed and replaced by native shrubs, grasses and wildflowers. The plants will provide foraging habitat for songbirds and pollinators like Monarch butterflies and bumblebees. The habitat is critical to brood rearing for migratory waterfowl, while reducing storm water runoff, standing water and erosion. The project will directly address the loss of wildlife habitat for multiple species of native Ohio wildlife. Also, wind and water erosion and the amount of sediments entering the watershed will be reduced, and deep-rooted plants will remove nutrients that impact fish and macroinvertebrate populations.

Dogs displaced by hurricane hunt for homes here

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It was not only humans who were displaced by Hurricane Harvey near Houston last month. Some four-legged residents of Texas found themselves shipped up to Bowling Green after the hurricane flooded much of the Houston area. Twenty-four dogs arrived at the Wood County Humane Society in Bowling Green last week. Half have already found homes here. The dogs came from a shelter in the Houston area – they are not dogs who were separated from their owners by the hurricane. “As is customary, they emptied out the existing shelter to make room for ones that are found or wandering,” after the storm, said Megann Smith, administrative assistant at the Wood County Humane Society. “None of these are dogs that people are looking for,” she said. “These guys already needed homes.” Smith realizes that some may be critical of the local humane society for taking in dogs from across the country. There are plenty of dogs in Wood County to help. “That is true,” she said. “But we go where animals need help,” Smith said. “Obviously, this is a very special situation.” The dogs were transported to Ohio by an organization that steps in when crises like the hurricane occur. Smith acknowledged that the immediate addition of 24 more dogs at the shelter was a challenge. “We had all hands on deck here,” she said. The shelter relied on some temporary crates and some foster families to take care of the new additions. “These animals don’t know they’re in Ohio,” she said. Besides, there may come a time when Wood County Humane Society needs help handling pets displaced by a crisis, Smith added. “It’s just about helping the animals.” The dogs are all mixed breeds, including six puppies that are likely pit bull-Rottweiler mixes. “It helps that they’re cute,” Smith said holding one of the 5-week-old pups. One of the dogs from Texas was just adopted on Friday. Smith referred to it as a “Heinz 57 – a true mutt.” The new owner decided to name his new dog “Cane,” with Hurricane Harvey in mind. Two of the dogs are heartworm positive and will require treatment, said April McCurdy, behavior and training coordinator at the Wood County Humane Society. All of the dogs will be seen by the shelter’s veterinarian, receive vaccines and be spayed or neutered before going up for adoption. The Wood County Humane Society has a mission of providing treatment and care to all animals in the county while trying to find homes for the ones that do not have them. For more information on adopting or volunteering, see:

Pizza sales at Black Swamp Fest benefit Humane Society

From WOOD COUNTY HUMANE SOCIETY For anyone who enjoys the arts, pizza, and animals there is a perfect opportunity to engage in all three this coming weekend. September 8th – 10th Wood County Humane Society will be running the Pisanello’s Pizza booth at the Black Swamp Arts Festival in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio. All of the proceeds will benefit Wood County Humane Society. The Black Swamp Arts Festival (BSAF) is an annual, top rated event that showcases art and music. There are over 150 booths selected by a juried panel. As with most festivals and fairs food and drink bring the experience full circle. The BSAF focuses on this portion with a food and beer garden. The Pisanello’s Pizza Booth will be in this area located near the center stage. Please join us in this fun event, grab a bit to eat, listen to the live entertainment, and help our animals. The WCHS, located in Bowling Green, Ohio, is a private, non-profit managed admission shelter providing care for homeless and abused pets and investigating cruelty complaints in Wood County. The organization receives no funding from government organizations, The United Way, or national humane organizations, instead relying on earned revenue and the generosity of individual donors and businesses to fund our programs such as Safe Haven and food assistance programs, spay/neuter transport, and educational presentations. The WCHS provides care for hundreds of animals each year—from dogs and cats, to horses, goats, and pocket pets. All animals admitted into our adoption program are housed and cared for as long as it takes to find their fur-ever home. For more information on adopting and/or volunteering, see:

Wood County asked to support ‘The Big Fix’ for dogs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last year the Wood County Commissioners were asked to support “The Big Fix” program which provides low cost spaying and neutering of dogs. The commissioners were reluctant, since they had doubts that Wood County residents would drive to northern Toledo to have their dogs fixed. But it appears the $10 coupon inserted with dog license certificates was enough to convince 248 dog owners from Wood County to drive their pets to the Humane Ohio location to be spayed and neutered. So last month, Steve Serchuk, a volunteer with Humane Ohio, was back in front of the commissioners asking again for their support of “The Big Fix.” “People took advantage of it. They outsold their goal,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said. “It’s been very successful,” Serchuk said. “If the price is low enough, people will do it.” Since the commissioners turned down the request last year, Serchuk himself funded the cost of the spaying and neutering at Humane Ohio, at an average cost of $65 per dog. The average cost to have a dog fixed at local veterinarian offices ranges between $115 and $225. When Wood County dog owners were asked on their license applications if their dogs were fixed, more than 30 percent said they were not. “That’s a big number,” Serchuk said. Spayed and neutered dogs are less aggressive and less likely to roam – meaning the county could save money in the long run by having to euthanize fewer dogs, he said. But in many cases, people can’t afford the costs. “We demonstrated people in the county would like to do this,” Serchuk said. “If the cost is low enough, people will do the right thing and spay and neuter their dogs.” Despite the distance to the Humane Ohio site on Tremainsville Road, more than half of the Wood County dogs came from areas in Bowling Green and south Wood County. “We had more from the villages and townships south of Bowling Green,” he said. So Serchuk tried again to get the county commissioners to put some money into the program for 2018. If the commissioners could put in $7,500, Serchuk said he had a community group that would match that money. “We’d like your support to do that,” he said. “The residents have demonstrated by supporting it.” Commissioner Doris Herringshaw said “The Big Fix” was more successful than they believed it would be. “It certainly did exceed our expectations,” she said. Wood County Dog Warden Andrew Snyder questioned the public funds being used for the program. “It was very nice of Steve to fund the initial year,” and nice to have 245 more dogs fixed in the county, Snyder said. However, he added, “Should we subsidize the cost of spay and neuter with public funds for a small…