Animal shelter probe is needed

I AM a dog man. I love canines. Once I hang up my coaching whistle, a golden retriever is in my future.

With that said, the discussion at Wednesday’s Belmont County commissioners’ meeting struck me as riveting. The commissioners played host to several individuals complaining about the conditions of the county animal shelter and the treatment of dogs at the facility.

If any of the statements made at the lively session are accurate then action should be taken. A former Belmont County Animal Rescue League board member said 51 percent of the dogs brought into the facility are put to death. To me, that is downright disgusting.

Other allegations claim the shelter is “filthy and overcrowded” and that BCARL personnel fail to properly market the dogs for adoption.

Wednesday’s debate at the commissioners’ meeting did not reveal anything that hasn’t been aired before. Our letters to the editor section has had many pieces talking about the shelter conditions. The meeting did, however, bring the issue to the forefront.

BCARL Treasurer Robert Painter offered a defense against the claims, stating that they had nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

“We certainly welcome the investigation and hope that you will take it seriously and look into all the allegations because I think you will find them to be false in most cases,” he said, adding that they are in consultation with their counsel.

He said the shelter is bound by strict rules, policies and procedures that must be adhered to.

Painter’s invitation for an investigation is one that commissioners should pursue.

The complaints are ones that need thoroughly investigated. If valid, they need cleaned up. If bogus, shelter officials need an apology.

If an outside agency is needed to conduct an impartial probe then the commissioners should do so. There is plenty of money in the county coffers to as such. Rice Energy just delivered $3 million to Belmont County.

If the animal shelter is home to inappropriate activity, it is the responsibility of the commissioners to put it to bed.


THE BUCKEYE Nation is still licking its collective wounds from Ohio State’s loss to Michigan State in the Big 10 title game. Urban Meyer needs to take a look at his defensive coaches after the Buckeyes were torched by Michigan and the Spartans in the last two games. As long as Braxton Miller remains under center, the OSU offense is in great hands. Buckeye fans travel well, but heading to the Orange Bowl to face 10-2 Clemson is a major letdown instead of going to Pasadena for a shot at the national title.

MARTINS FERRY Police Chief and Belmont County Drug Task Force Commander John McFarland is pushing a worthwhile program. Mac made a presentation to the Martins Ferry Board of Education Monday night, outlining Drug Free Clubs of America It is a volunteer program for high school students ninth to 12th grade. The volunteers participate with their parents’ consent and students who remain drug-free will be eligible for some rewards from the school. The board gave its commitment to the program Mac hopes to implement it in every Belmont County school district.

THE BELLAIRE Area Chamber of Commerce is again selling its historic calendars. They cost $10 and can be purchased at the chamber office, located next to Rigas Restaurant, or at the mayor’s office. They make great Christmas gifts. If you have any questions, call 740-676-4817. I purchased two on Friday.

TIME MAGAZINE has named Pope Francis as its man of the year. It is tough to argue with that choice.

THE NEXT Bellaire Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon/meeting will be held Thursday at noon in the Community Room of Bellaire Public Library, 330 32nd St. The cost of the luncheon is $7. There is no charge to attend the meeting. All local business owners and their employees are invited to attend. Please make your reservation by Tuesday by calling the chamber office 740-676-9723 or email

RACHEL JALOWIEC, a North Ridgeville High product and current sophomore pitcher for Ursuline College, has been named a 2012-2013 All-American Scholar-Athlete by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. Rachel is a nursing major with a 3.7 GPA. She is the granddaughter of Clark and Patty Bahr of St. Clairsville and the daughter of Carla (Bahr) Jalowiec and Dennis Jalowiec.

THE FORMER Belmont County sheriff’s residence has yielded much discussion and debate over the years. Many wanted the structure razed. Fortunately, it was not and has been restored into a museum, operated by the county’s tourism bureau. The refurbished structure, located next to the courthouse in St. Clairsville, will be showcased at an open house Thursday from 5-7 p.m. I hope the public turns out in strong fashion to view a historical work of architecture.

I RECEIVED my electric bill Friday from AEP. I wished I hadn’t opened it. Electric rate hikes have been forewarned for a good while. I never expected a $194 monthly bill. That is outrageous for a guy who lives solo. Normally, my bill is $60. I feel for people with large families.

Kapral may be reached at