GALLIPOLIS — Two years after an incident involving three Gallia County K-9 Shelter workers and misdemeanor proceedings in municipal court, the shelter now hosts one of its lowest dog counts in years, partly due to the efforts of a local animal rescue.
According to Gallia County Dog Warden Laurie Cardillo, 11 dogs currently reside at the shelter and are available for adoption. She can house around 18 dogs in the larger kennels, unless doubled up, in the facility as well as a number of puppies. She attempts to keep pups out of the shelter as much as possible. According to Cardillo, pups can get sick easily when mixed with the general population of unknown animals being brought in from various locations.
Cardillo said part of the reason for the drop in animals being housed in the facility is due to the Friends of Gallia County’s Animals nonprofit animal rescue group.
Two years ago, three shelter workers faced a number of court proceedings due in part to the case gaining a full head of steam shortly after a Valentine’s Day 2014 incident. At the time, the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals said it planned to “fully investigate” the deaths of 11 dogs at the Gallia County K-9 Shelter. The Ohio SPCA cited the concerns of the Friends of Gallia County’s Animals, a local rescue group whose members had said all of the dogs killed were vaccinated and in the process of being adopted.
With the removal of previous shelter employees in question, Cardillo was hired as the dog warden July 2014. Cardillo and the “Friends” group have since sought out one another to continue their mission of providing homes for stray and unwanted dogs.
According to Friends of Gallia County’s Animals Treasurer Jamie Smith, the rescue group has picked up 15 animals this month from the county shelter to help push them into foster homes and adoptions. She also said the rescue picked up another 95 dogs countywide, 65 of which are pups, in January.
Cardillo and Smith both believe more stringent spay and neuter policies within the county would help alleviate dog overpopulation and prevent puppies from finding their way in to homes that would not care for them properly.
“We look forward to working with Laurie,” Smith said. “We share the same goal. It’s time for people to know that we are working as partners.”
Smith has been a member of the “Friends” group for three years. She originally started as a dog foster volunteer before becoming a full member of the group and assisting in dog rescuing processes.
“I never thought I would get in this deep,” Smith said.
“We’re not here to play games,” Cardillo said. “We’re here to save the dogs. Like it or not, that’s what we aim to do.”
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.