Hamilton County will have a new agency in charge of the dog warden function starting Saturday. The county commission awarded a $1.95 million contract for the work Thursday to the Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society.
The new contract will last until Dec. 31, and can be renewed yearly up to four times.
"Our team has been operating in Clermont County for the last three years to great success," said Carolyn Evans, who's the executive director of Cincinnati Animal CARE Humane Society. "And we are really looking forward to expanding our life-saving footprint into Hamilton County."
The new agency replaces the SPCA Cincinnati, which had been handling the county's dog warden duties for several years. It announced about a year ago it wanted to end that relationship.
"SPCA made a decision to focus on other areas, and we wish them well, we really are thankful for them for carrying the torch for so many years here in Hamilton County for 60 years, really making change for animals in the community," Evans said.
Troy Taylor will be the new Hamilton County Dog Warden. He has more than six years of law enforcement experience including K-9 supervision and working for Clermont Animal CARE Humane Society and a similar group in Nebraska.
Taylor will have nine deputy dog wardens to assist with licensing compliance and complaints about stray dogs.
The county commission voted earlier in July on a lease agreement with SPCA Cincinnati for its kenneling location on Colerain Avenue in Northside. The new agency will use it to shelter dogs from Hamilton County.
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 county commission in April 2019 agreed to renew its contract with the SPCA Cincinnati 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.