NEW CASTLE —
The family was told that the Lawrence County Humane Society was not available to house the dog following the attack.
Attorney David Henderson of the Humane Society board of directors, agreed.
“This is not the mission of the Humane Society,” he said, “although we have done so in the past.”
One reason for the change is economics, he said.
If the society accepts an animal and criminal charges are filed, “we are responsible to hold the animal until the case is resolved. It could take six months or longer for the case to come to court. In the meantime, who is going to pay for the care of the animal? We (at the society) can’t afford it,” he said.
“We’re not cold-hearted,” Henderson continued. “We know there is a problem. But we just can’t afford to care for every animal in the county. But owners should be responsible for their own animals.”
When the district attorney hired a humane officer, Henderson said, the society revamped its policy and notified him of its decision to no longer accept dogs for quarantine.
“We changed at that time because we knew there was an alternative,” he said.
Under the law, Henderson said, a dog owner can be required to keep and quarantine an animal in his home — and at his expense — for 10 days.
“If the owner fails to do so, he can be charged with a criminal offense. This is in the law,” he said.
If the owner finds it an imposition to quarantine a dog, Henderson said, “He can contact a veterinarian or kennel to keep the animal for the 10-day quarantine period and pay the expense,” he said. “Or he could have the animal put down by a vet.”
However, if the animal in question is “an evidence dog, a mistreated animal, we will accept it.
“The mission of the Humane Society is that we are there for the animals. Our primary purpose is to assist them,” Henderson said. “Secondly, we will take in a dog if it is signed over to us and if we can determine if it is adoptable or not. But we just can’t take in every dog.”
The animal shelter will accept stray dogs, and hold them for the 48 hour period proscribed by law to see if the owner comes to claim it.
“Then we must make a decision about what to do. We also take abandoned animals,” Henderson said. “But again, decisions have to be made.”