Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon
Calls for the resignation of Lucas County Dog Warden Tom Skeldon increased last week after news of the killing by a deputy warden of an unlicensed Pomeranian mix named Princess via tranquilizer dart. Joining in with the chorus was the Toledo Blade, which published an editorial demanding "a change at the top" of the Lucas County dog warden's office.
Personally, I bear no animosity toward Tom Skeldon, and the one time I briefly met him he seemed pleasant enough. OK, I did refer to him as "Herr Skeldon" over at a local bulletin board, which was a bit over the top, but I do not see Skeldon as the problem.
He's just the face of the problem, which is that the dog warden's office operates with little oversight and accountability. As I mentioned on another related post at Glass City Jungle, I could care less if Skeldon remained dog warden for life, so long as his department had greater accountability and that he took into consideration the public will.
For starters, Skeldon's policy of euthanizing all dogs he deems as "vicious breeds" clearly must be scrapped. I have known dogs belonging to "vicious" breeds that were as gentle as sedated lambs, while I have encountered snarling, biting dogs from supposedly friendly breeds. The solution? Skeldon's people should perform aggression assessments on all dogs that come into the system, and only those dogs with obvious aggressiveness (and thus those that cannot be adopted out) should be euthanized.
In addition, Tom Skeldon's stubborn refusal to allow rescue groups to facilitate the adoption process is foolish. Most of the county dog wardens in Northwest Ohio allow volunteer groups like Planned Pethood, Maumee Valley Save-A-Pet and the Toledo Animal Shelter to assume responsibility for the many thousands of dogs and cats who wind up at county animal shelters. Unfortunately, the Lucas County Dog Warden will only work with the Humane Society, and thousands of adoptable dogs get euthanized every year in Lucas County because of this shortsighted policy.
So Mr. Skeldon? Most of us in the area have no real interest in seeing you join the ranks of the unemployed, but quite a few folks demand sensible changes in your policies. Either join the 21st century with reasonable policy modifications, or face ever more insistent calls for your immediate termination.
(Disclaimer and full disclosure: historymike writes in his own capacity as an area citizen, and not as a spokesperson for any animal rescue groups with which he is affiliated)