GALLIPOLIS — The committee that will provide recommendations and guidance, among other things, concerning the Gallia County Animal Shelter has filled out its membership and is now an active group.
The Gallia County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved appointments made to the Gallia County Canine Management Committee, which formed when 11 dogs, reportedly vaccinated and bound for adoptive homes, were euthanized Feb. 14 at the shelter.
Serving on the canine committee will be Brent Saunders, vice president of the Gallia County Commission, who will be the group’s chairman; Brenda Wright, interim dog warden of Gallia County; Karen Sprague, Gallia County administrator; Friends of Gallia County’s Animals group representative Beverly Coombs and alternate Nathan Weatherholt; local veterinarian Brian Hendrickson; Barb Bradley of the Gallia County Health Department; and Melvin Mock, who will serve on the committee as a member at-large.
The new committee will be responsible for making recommendations to county commissioners concerning the Gallia County Dog shelter and canine issues. It officially met for the first time early Thursday morning.
Ever since mid-February, the dog deaths have been a weekly topic at Gallia County Commission meetings. Members of the FGCA, as well as other area animal lovers, are always in attendance in hopes of getting answers from commissioners, who oversee the animal shelter and its employees.
Commission President David K. Smith had said during the commission’s March 21 meeting that he wanted the Gallia County Canine Management Committee to form with the idea that it could work toward better oversight and communication at the animal shelter.
Dog warden Paul L. Simmers has been charged with 32 counts of second-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty, while his former assistant Jason Harris is charged with 12 counts of second-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty in connection with the Feb. 14 dog deaths. Former dog warden Jean L. Daniels is also charged with 13 counts of second-degree misdemeanor animal cruelty.
All three have pleaded not guilty and face pre-trial hearings later this month. Simmers’ hearing is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. April 22; Harris’ hearing is 9:45 a.m. April 22; and Daniels’ hearing is set for 2:45 p.m. Monday.
All three are charged with negligently causing unnecessary pain and suffering to dogs being euthanized at the animal shelter located in the 100 block of Shawnee Lane. They allegedly didn’t follow correct procedures during the euthanasia process, which investigators said caused the animals to suffer unnecessary pain.