Artists from kindergarten through seniors invited to submit work for Animals 4 Animals exhibit

From BOWLING GREEN ARTS COUNCIL The Bowling Green Arts Council and Four Corners Center will be hosting Artists 4 Animals 5 at the Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main Street, with an opening reception from 4:30-6:30 pm .on Friday, November 9. Interested artists can find information about the show and how to sign up on the Bowling Green Arts Council website, Artists of all ages, kindergarten through adult, will be exhibiting their animal- themed work in the show, which is free and open to the public, during regular Four Corners hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Exhibit of all artists can be viewed through November 28. The show features selected top winners in each age category as well as best domestic and wild animal. The winning images will be reproduced on note cards that available for purchase at the Four Corners Center and other Bowling Green venues. Sales of the cards will benefit the Wood County Humane Society and the Bowling Green Arts Council.

Read More

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 the park was too expensive, he added. After the meeting with the commissioners, Snyder talked about some of the reasons possibly causing the lower number of dogs being impounded at the shelter. In 2005, there were more than 800 dogs taken in. Last year, that number was just over 400. More dogs are now being licensed, so they are immediately returned to their owners instead of having to go to the dog shelter, he said. Also, there has been an…

‘Every Dog Matters’ rally critical of county dog warden

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 50 people carrying signs and holding leashes marched Friday evening in Bowling Green to profess their love of dogs and protest euthanasia at the Wood County Dog Shelter. Dwight Stinehart, of Portage, brought his three-legged boxer, Shrek, to the “Every Dog Matters” rally in the Wooster Green. The dog shelter is too quick to euthanize, he said. “We just want to raise awareness,” Connie Donald, of the Wood County Canine Alliance, said as she held a sign saying “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” “Things have been done the same way there for 20 years,” Donald said of the county dog shelter operation. The primary objection of the Canine Alliance members is that dogs are mislabeled as being aggressive and are needlessly euthanized. “We don’t think every dog can be saved,” Donald said. But she does think the county can do better. Last year, 74 dogs were euthanized at the Wood County Dog Shelter. That’s too many, according to members of the Canine Alliance. But according to statistics from the dog shelter, the percentages of dogs euthanized at the shelter have been dropping over the last decade. More than 40 percent of the dogs brought into the shelter in 2009 were euthanized. When Andrew Snyder took over as chief dog warden in 2001, nearly a quarter of the dogs brought to the shelter were euthanized. The number has been gradually dropping, hitting a low of 9.3 percent so far this year, Snyder said. Efforts have increased to return the dogs to their owners (47 percent), adopt them out to new homes (25 percent) and transfer them to rescue groups (19 percent). But Donald questioned those numbers, suggesting that Snyder isn’t counting the dogs declared “unadoptable” in the euthanized tally. Consequently, the protest signs calling Snyder the “Death Warden,” and stating “Stop killing our dogs,” “Silence = Death” and “Commissioners listen to your voters.” Members of the Canine Alliance believe that the evaluations conducted on dogs at the shelter are not fair, and do not take into account the stress the dogs are under in the facility. The dogs deserve enrichment, outdoor time and attention. “They are not meeting the emotional needs,” Donald said. “You can’t just get a dog and expect it to be perfect.” Karen Ash said shelter workers need more empathy for the dogs. “We want to give all the dogs a chance,” she said. Ash also said the shelter records should be open to the public. The public deserves to know how dogs are euthanized, and exactly how they are evaluated. “This is a taxpayer funded facility,” Ash said. Judging the dogs too harshly is resulting in needless euthanasia, she said. “It boils down to animal abuse,” Ash said. “It’s a stain on the community.” Another protester, Lori Hanway, said the dogs need to be given more time to adjust at the shelter before they go through behavioral evaluations. “I just think the dogs need to be considered more important,” Hanway said. “We’re animal lovers,” Happy Brooks said. “I think there’s a place for every dog.” But county officials don’t think the dog shelter can be that place or can find a home for every dog. Last month, Snyder demonstrated to the county commissioners the…

Rally to push for changes at dog shelter

Wood County Canine Alliance invites you to join us for a rally for the dogs at Wood County Dog Shelter, Friday June 8 6-7:30 p.m. at Wooster Green, corner of W Wooster and S Church Bowling Green OH Wood County Canine Alliance is a newly formed group of Wood County and northwest Ohio residents who are concerned with the current policies and procedures at Wood County Dog Shelter. We believe there is room for substantial improvements which would result in fewer dogs being euthanized. We have attempted to work with the people making decisions and have made no progress. We are asking other dog lovers and the people who love dog lovers to join us for a peaceful rally to let Wood County Commissioners know we expect better for unwanted dogs in Wood County in 2018. Rain or shine. Friendly dogs welcome. We have signs, bring your own or we will have supplies to make one! Wooster Green is a new green space designed specifically for events like ours, at the corner of W Wooster and S Church, BG, where old junior high building used to be. We will be the first official rally since dedication and opening of the beautiful gazebo. 75 dogs were euthanized at this shelter last year. We know we cannot save them all but every one of those dogs mattered. Molly LaMountain For Wood County Canine Alliance Every Dog Matters

Lake Erie doesn’t have a prayer without everyone taking action

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Factory farms, corporations and kids can all help address concerns about pollution in Lake Erie. That was one of the message that came out of the third Creation Care Celebration Sunday Peace Lutheran Church. Sponsored by the Black Swamp Green Team, the event encourages looking at environmental issues through a spiritual lens. That’s something that’s needed said keynote speaker Sandy Bihn, executive director of the Lake Erie Foundation, and founder of Lake Erie Waterkeeper. It is important for all faith communities to come together to protect our sources of water. The Maumee River Watershed is central to that effort. Lake Erie, especially the western basin, suffer from algae growth promoted by the phosphorus from manure and fertilizer flowing from the regions’ vast farmlands. Much of it finds its way to Lake Erie. And under the right conditions that algae can produce the deadly microcystin toxin. That toxic algal growth is what shut off the Toledo’s water supply in summer, 2014. And though $20 billion have been spent to protect the lake, those phosphorus levels have not gone down, Bihn said. She likened Lake Erie to the proverbial canary in the coal mine. Because it is so shallow, it is the first to exhibit, problems, Bihn said. However, that also means that the water in the lake is replenished within a matter of weeks, or in the case of the western basin a matter of days. However, Bihn said, once these problems begin to manifest themselves in the larger lakes, they will take much longer to remedy. Lake Erie has come back since the nadir in the 1960s. That came about because of government action to invest on better water treatment systems. States also moved to ban phosphorus in detergent. Despite the evident problems in Ohio, Bihn noted, the state lagged behind others in banning the phosphorus in laundry detergent, waiting until 1988, some 17 years after Michigan. Procter and Gamble, with headquarters in Ohio, fought the ban. However, Bihn said, two decades later when a ban on phosphorus in dishwashing liquid was proposed, the company got on board from the beginning. Now the major problem, she said, comes from agriculture. The ditches and field tiles that made the Black Swamp tillable, also mean the water’s flow to the lake is expedited. Manure contributes 27 percent of the phosphorus, and commercial fertilizer contributes 33 percent. But addressing those two sources take different approaches. Farmers must buy commercial fertilizers, so it is in their economic interest to minimize their use. Manure, however, is a waste product that needs to be disposed of, so spreading as much as possible on fields is an economic gain. Factory dairy farms and concentrated feeding operations produce a lot of manure. Now four times as much manure is used as commercial fertilizer. If those numbers were equal, she said, that could greatly reduce phosphorus levels in the lake. The point is “only put on as much as the crop needs,” Bihn said. That requires new technology for treating and using manure as well as better monitoring of the cows and pigs raised on medium and large operations. But even those who don’t own cows or pigs can do their part to address the problem, said Amanda Gamby, the newly hired sustainability…

Dogs put to the test before deemed safe for adoption

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   All 120 pounds of Winston with his wagging tail showed up in the Wood County Commissioners’ hearing room on Tuesday. The mastiff mix – who was adopted from the Wood County Dog Shelter – was used to help exhibit the testing that dogs go through before they are deemed safe to be adopted out from the shelter. “If we have dogs with unsafe behaviors, we are not going to place them,” Wood County Dog Warden Andrew Snyder said to the county commissioners. “We are making decisions based on the best interest of the public and best interest of the dogs.” Snyder talked about Safety Assessment for Evaluating Re-homing tests intended to judge dog behavior. “This assessment was designed to identify behavior modification before adoption,” he said. However, the dog shelter does not have the adequate time or staff to perform the detailed two-person videotaped evaluations, he said. “It’s really not a function we are equipped to carry out,” Snyder told the commissioners. So the Wood County Dog Shelter is using its own version of the behavior evaluations. According to Snyder, dog shelters in Lucas and Hancock counties also do modified versions, while dog shelters in Seneca, Sandusky, Henry and Ottawa counties have no formal evaluations. But a canine advocate group called Wood County Canine Alliance believes some dogs at the local shelter are unfairly labeled as dangerous and doomed to euthanasia. Snyder defended the evaluations as a public service. With the help of Winston and his owner, deputy dog warden Nora Davis, Snyder showed the county commissioners how dogs are assessed. Observation of the dog’s body language can tell a lot, he said. Is the dog barking in a happy or aggressive manner, cowering in the back of a kennel, pacing, acting dominant or submissive, avoiding eye contact? Are the ears back, hair raised, tail wagging? “Dogs are very, very good at reading people,” Snyder said. “As we’re assessing them, they are assessing us.” Then there are the tests. Will the dog tolerate having its feet touched or its ears tugged? Will it allow a person to push or restrain it in a hug? The staff uses a fake arm on a stick to see if the dog will allow its food bowl to be moved around. There are also tests to see how a dog behaves around other dogs. Snyder recognizes the evaluations are not perfect. “We are evaluating dogs based on a single point in time,” and when being housed in a dog kennel, that point in time is not ideal, he said. “It’s a stressful environment. Dogs certainly act different there than they will act in a home environment,” he said. “All evaluations to a certain extent are subjective,” Snyder said. Sometimes the shelter staff encounters a dog that behaves well – until a trigger occurs. Snyder told of a friendly dog whose behavior changed when it was grabbed by the collar. “That dog would become unbelievably aggressive, like a light switch was flipped,” he said. “We don’t always know exactly what the trigger is.” Some dog advocates have suggested that dogs be ranked as less dangerous if their bites tend to be less severe. “That’s a flawed system as well,” Snyder said. Last year, Wood County recorded 155…

County helps fund humane society cruelty investigator

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Last year the Wood County Humane Society responded to 221 complaints of abused or neglected animals. With the help of $32,500 from the Wood County Commissioners, the agency can continue coming to the rescue of mistreated animals. The commissioners presented the funds Tuesday to representatives of the humane society. The check was $2,500 more than the usual annual amount given. The money is used each year to pay for the humane agent’s salary, plus help with costs for the vehicle and equipment used to respond to complaints. Heath Diehl, president of the volunteer board, and Erin Moore, shelter manager, reported to the commissioners on changes at the shelter. Diehl said the agency is constantly focused on working more efficiently and being good stewards of donated monies. Moore said the agency had an operational audit conducted recently by an outside company. She also pointed out increased efforts to send staff to educational seminars. The humane society has a new humane agent, David Petersen, who responds to cruelty complaints. “He’s been pretty busy on education,” Moore said. Petersen, who has experience as Sandusky County’s humane agent, gets an estimated 16 calls a month about suspected animal abuse or neglect. In some of those cases, the owners are educated on proper care and the animals are left with them. For that reason, the humane agent also conducted 882 re-checks last year, according to the Wood County Humane Society’s annual report for 2017. In other cases, the owners surrender the animals, or the case is taken to court. “During the really hot times of the year and the really cold times, we get more” cases reported, Moore said. According to the annual report, the humane society set a record last year of the number of animals taken in, and the number of lives saved. A total of 1,055 animals were taken into the shelter – an increase of 20 percent from the year before – and 987 lives were saved. Also last year, the shelter’s veterinary team completed 928 surgical procedures — 633 of which were spays and neuters for shelter animals. Diehl and Moore also reported to the commissioners that the humane society has started to spay and neuter adoptable dogs from the Wood County Dog Shelter. “We’re hoping there will be many more,” Moore said. “We’re hoping this will be an ongoing great relationship and something good for the community, too.” The bulk of the Wood County Humane Society’s overall budget of close to $500,000 is from donations and fundraising efforts. The largest fundraiser each year for the organization is coming up later this spring. The annual garage sale intake will be May 21 to 23, followed by the actual sale on May 24 to 26.