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Police protocol needed to protect animals


On the morning of November 9th, Buckeye Lake Police Chief Jimmy Hanzey goes to the parking lot of a local business where a car has been sitting, apparently for a couple of days. He finds a seriously ill woman in the car with her dog and two cats. The chief calls the squad who transports the woman to the hospital and he calls the dog warden who takes the dog to the pound. The cats are left in the car in carriers with no accessible food or water (although food and dishes are in a plastic container in plain sight).

According to public records, the dog warden (Dave Shellhouse) tells the chief to call the Licking County Humane Society (who was closed this Wednesday as they are every Wednesday). Chief Hanzey leaves a message on the humane society’s line knowing they won’t even get it until the next day. (Before you can leave a message it states they are closed on Wednesday.)

Late in the afternoon on this same day, about six hours after the pound gets the dog out of the car, I get a call from a Good Samaritan who tells me the cats are in the car and have been there for awhile. The Good Sam doesn’t know if the dog warden took the dog but knows the cats are still there and is concerned that the ill woman could lose all her animals if they aren’t rescued soon. (Thank you, Good Sam, for making a call for help.)

I have left a couple of messages for Chief Hanzey to call me as well as asking for a copy of the report for this incident but I have not heard from him. I would have asked him why he wouldn’t ask me to take the cats (as he has in the past) OR why didn’t he call the Licking County Humane Agent (who works for the Licking County Humane Society that contracts with Buckeye Lake)?

I spoke with Dog Warden Shellhouse to ask why he would have left those cats in the car and I asked for his report for this incident. Shellhouse responded that they don’t deal with cats and the incident report wasn’t public record since he was going to charge the woman for not having a current Licking County license on this dog. I was a little surprised that he was going to kick this woman while she was down. She doesn’t live in Licking County; the dog wasn’t loose as it was in the woman’s car; and it was wearing a Franklin County rabies tag and an I.D. tag with her name and address.

When I finally got the records, they showed the dog is listed as a stray. This dog was a beautiful purebred dog. I wonder if the pound would have even taken it if it were a mutt since they have REPEATEDLY refused to take other dogs that had known owners…reiterating they only deal with “stray” dogs!

If Chief Hanzey would have called the humane agent’s cell phone (the other BLPD officers have the number and they would have called the humane agent directly), this dog and the two cats would have been taken to the humane society where they could have been easily retrieved by the owner (when she is well) or her designee. (The form at the pound called a “Notice To” form states the owner’s name and notifies them where the dog was seized and also states, “Furthermore be advised that said dog will be sold or destroyed if not redeemed by the LEGAL ADULT OWNER OR HARBORER within three (3) days from the date of this notice.”

I’m not saying this dog would have been euthanized but I certainly believe it would have been auctioned given that the pound allows people to bid on dogs. Given the severity of this woman’s health, three days isn’t enough time for her to reclaim her dog.

Since some of the Buckeye Lake public officials claim they don’t read the “local paper”, I challenge the Buckeye Lake mayor and council members to read this letter and make sure there is a protocol that MUST be followed by ALL police officers when the situation involves the life of an animal.

These animals were all saved and eventually returned to the owner, but no thanks to our police chief. This could have easily had a very bad ending. No matter whom you’re mad at or who you like or dislike, it is not the fault of the animal.

“Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one that inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.” –Mark Twain

Bonnie Mansfield
Buckeye Lake

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