Clermont County Group Likely To Be Hamilton County's Dog Warden

Jul 14, 2020

Hamilton County is negotiating with a Clermont County agency to provide dog warden services in the county.

Hamilton County Administrator Jeff Aluotto talked about the issue Tuesday afternoon during a county commission staff meeting. Commissioners could vote on an actual contract for those services in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Clermont Animal CARE Humane Society shared a post on its Facebook page on June 30 stating it "has been selected as the next vendor for Hamilton County animal services."

The new contract could be in place by Aug. 1.

The county commission will vote Thursday on a lease with SPCA Cincinnati for its kenneling location on Colerain Avenue in Northside. The Clermont County agency would use it to shelter dogs from Hamilton County. 

"As we have been considering our future as an organization, we sought opportunities to expand our lifesaving reach in the community and decided to submit a bid for a chance to serve a neighboring county," the Clermont County agency shared on Facebook. "We have a strong team of animal welfare professionals capable of operating both Clermont and Hamilton County animal services simultaneously, with separate staffing, boards and budgets, but with one humane society executive leadership team and a common philosophy, consistent culture and shared vision."

Last August, the SPCA Cincinnati announced it would no longer handle the dog warden function in Hamilton County. That group had wanted to stop that service at the end of 2019 but has continued to provide it as the county works on a new plan.

County administrators had been discussing allowing the sheriff's department to handle the dog warden activity. The sheriff's office was only interested in handling the enforcement side. That meant the county would have to find another agency to shelter and care for the animals.

The Clermont County agency would handle both functions.

The county commission in April 2019 agreed to renew its contract with the SPCA for services while investigating ways to change how the county fulfills its requirement to patrol strays and enforce licensing. Humane laws (i.e., animal cruelty) may be enforced by law enforcement agencies or humane societies.

Animal advocates have argued that SPCA-run dog wardens do nothing to help endangered or abused animals and don't work well with area law enforcement.

They wanted the sheriff to take over and create something similar to the Butler County Sheriff's Dog Warden & Humane Officers program.

They also weren't happy with the level of transparency offered by the SPCA, though the agency has made changes since the beginning of the year, including reporting requirements and quarterly public meetings.