Monroe County Dog Pound may be relocating

Officials hope plot of land will suit new facility

T-L Photos/MIRANDA SEBROSKI Rhonda Piatt, Monroe County dog warden, said she helps various types of animals at the Monroe County Dog Pound, but the conditions of the pound are not reflecting her work.

WOODSFIELD — Monroe County officials hope a plot of land the county already owns will be able to serve as a new home for a county-run animal shelter that has drawn complaints because of its poor condition.

After years of trying to find a new location for the Monroe County Dog Pound, the dog warden said she believes she has found a solution on county-owned property near the Monroe Achievement Center Office Sheltered Workshop in Woodsfield. Dog Warden Rhonda Piatt brought her idea to county commissioners Monday during their weekly meeting.

“I’m glad someone actually wants to work with me to get this new dog pound,” Piatt said. “It is such a relief.”

The current dog pound has been in bad shape for years, Piatt said. The walls and doors of the building are crumbling, the roof has decayed and interior doors are rusting and leaking as a result of improper insulation. The exterior door also has a hole in the glass and there are developing holes in the floor.

Piatt also said mice and snakes get inside during the summer.

Commissioner Mick Schumacher said the county has not received any formal complaints about the pound and it passes inspection by the Ohio State Department of Agriculture every year. However, Schumacher said he is concerned about the animals and staff being there.

Piatt has received a lot of personal backlash from the community on social media about the conditions of the dog pound.

“No one knows the hard work I do here and why would they want to know with what I work out of,” she said. “It doesn’t seem to matter about the positives I do here because all they see is this. It is really reflecting on my work and no one understands how passionate I am about these animals. The new building would make a huge difference.”

Piatt said there’s another reason the county needs a new building. She said fixing up the pound would not be beneficial in the long run because the shelter is built near the airport authority, which means it eventually would need to be moved anyway.

The dog warden has been trying to find a new location for a dog pound since 2007. She had land picked out across from the newly built jail in Woodsfield, but was not able to obtain it because people living near that property were concerned about potential noise from dogs barking.

But others have supported the effort to find the animal shelter a new home. Monroe County resident Joe Bates raised more than $66,000 for the pound through a Go Fund Me campaign. Bates, who has volunteered at the shelter for 25 years, donated $25,000 of his own money. He said he is passionate about the dog pound and has been disappointed with the conditions.

Another Monroe County resident, Betty Kahrig, donated $20,000 toward the cause.

Piatt said the shelter does bring in some money from the county’s dog license fee. Commissioners increased that fee to $16 in 2014, but Piatt is not sure how much revenue the fees generate.

Meanwhile, Schumacher said he supports Piatt’s efforts to find a new home for the shelter.

“I am excited about the fact we have people in the county who have donated and have been passionate about the dog pound even though it is the commissioners’ responsibility,” said Schumacher.

Piatt said she has plans to speak with a contractor to get a base price on how much it will cost to build the new pound.