Dog warden updates commissioners on changes to animal claim law

| March 9, 2016

COSHOCTON – For years people were reimbursed by the county if it could be proven that their livestock was injured or killed by a dog and then the county would attempt to get its money back from the dog owner or take them to court. House Bill 64, however, has changed that process and the Coshocton County Commissioners learned how when they spoke with Dog Warden Russell Dreher at their March 9 meeting.

“Anytime someone’s livestock was injured or killed by a predator or dog we were basically the first responder,” said Dog Warden Russell Dreher. “If we determined it was caused by a predator like a coyote or black headed vulture we turned the claim over to ODNR and there was no reimbursement from us. If it was determined to be a dog, we opened an investigation reimbursed them from the dog and kennel fund and would use the prosecutor’s office if necessary to get our money back from the dog owner in a civil lawsuit.”

The requirement to reimburse the owner of the livestock is now eliminated due to House Bill 64.

“It’s still a criminal act, but we aren’t going to reimburse them from the dog and kennel fund,” Dreher said. “We will still investigate the claims, but they (the livestock owner) will have to hire an attorney if they want to get reimbursed for their livestock from the dog owner.”

In 2014 the county handled seven livestock injury/death investigations and in 2015 they had four. Of those cases only two were determined to involve dogs.

“We haven’t had tons of these cases, but over the years we have had a few claims that involved several animals such as sheep at one time,” Dreher said.

The change in the law may prevent the county from helping people get reimbursed for their livestock, but Dreher said it does not stop his office from investigating the claims.

“When we complete our investigation it will be public record and the livestock owner can get their file and follow up on it,” he said. “What I see this change in the law doing is maybe getting more dogs shot because the livestock owners know they aren’t going to get reimbursed from us. Instead of calling us, they will just take care of the problem themselves. The law states that you can shoot dogs if they are being aggressive toward a person or livestock.”

Dreher encourages anyone with questions about the change in the law to call his office at 740-295-0026.

“We take these claims very seriously because we know livestock is a lot of farmer’s livelihood,” Dreher said. “We will investigate night or day.”

[email protected]

Tags: , ,

Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

Comments are closed.