New Plan For Hamilton County Dog Warden Coming In December

Nov 7, 2019

Hamilton County officials are still working on a new plan to handle dog warden services in the county. It comes after SPCA Cincinnati announced in August it will no longer be doing that next year.  

County Administrator Jeff Aluotto is working with the sheriff's department to take on at least some of those responsibilities.

"We're working with the sheriff on a proposal from the sheriff as it relates to the handling of enforcement and licensing, licensing enforcement and stray management services," Aluotto said. "We are awaiting a second proposal from the sheriff on those same services. You might remember that I highlighted the fact that we had some questions on levels of service as it relates to that."

The county is also studying whether to lease or buy the SPCA's current facility on Colerain Avenue for housing dogs. The sheriff's office would not operate that part, but it would be under county control.  

Aluotto told commissioners he hopes to have a plan for them to consider in December.    

"As to how we best move forward, it likely will continue to involve some level of transition with the SPCA," Aluotto said. "But ultimately to get into a situation where we are off and running on a new business model as it relates to our responsibilities under the (Ohio) code to handle dog warden functions."

The county commission in April 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 want the sheriff to take over and create something similar to the Butler County Sheriff's Dog Warden & Humane Officers program. They also aren'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.