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Gallia County assistant dog warden removed pending investigation

The assistant warden of a dog shelter has for now been removed from his position pending an investigation into the deaths of several dogs.

A rescue group called the Friends of Gallia County Animals says 11 animals were put down at the Gallia Animal Shelter.

Nathan Weatherholt is on the group's board. He says all of those dogs had been vaccinated, and two were in the process of being adopted.

"There are 11 other dogs that we can't help because they're aggressive,” Weatherholt said. “They're cat-aggressive, they're food-aggressive, they're people-aggressive. He could have picked 11 of those dogs and euthanized any of those 11 dogs. It would have still been tragic and horrible, but it wouldn't have been the 11 dogs we were looking at."

Weatherholt says a member of the group who works with the shelter on a daily basis suspects the dogs may have been put down through a method called "heart sticking," without sedation. This method became illegal about a year and a half ago.

"To do it without sedating them first is just criminal," Weatherholt said.

Gallia County Commission President David Smith says the shelter is not a no-kill shelter, and it's unclear at this point if anything wrong was done.

"Our assistant dog warden and our dog warden have been sent to schooling to learn the proper procedures,” Smith said. “They receive a certificate, a license to do that. They have been trained the proper way to do those things."

The Gallia County Sheriff's Department is investigating.

Smith says as of Sunday, the assistant dog warden has been re-assigned to the county's maintenance department and will not work at the animal shelter during the investigation.

The county's main dog warden says he cannot comment on this until the investigation has been completed.

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