The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

March 3, 2014

Few licensed dogs labeled as dangerous despite law


Strengthening the law

That Richey tried to get help from so many different places and couldn’t is a source of frustration for her immediate family.

“In Klonda’s case, she did everything in her power,” said Ted Richey, her brother.

Added her sister, Linda Roach: “Klonda’s tragic death is more than a wake-up call for all concerned. It is a red alert — a bloody alert — to protect the innocent.

“It breaks my heart that she was not truly listened to nor helped,” she said. “The agencies involved with enforcing and monitoring these dogs and their owners should have more strength. In talking with various ones regarding Klonda’s case, they said their hands were tied. Legislators must untie their hands so they can save lives.”

Butler said he and other state legislators are drafting a bill that would promote more communication be-tween governmental agencies.

He said Kumpf told him Richey’s death potentially could have been prevented if there was adequate communication between animal control, police and the court system.

According to Butler, Kumpf said the two dogs that killed Richey likely would have been designated as dangerous and removed from the property if the Animal Resource Center knew Richey had pursued so many different avenues for help.

He warned, however, that it will take at least a month to draft the legislation, and approval could take months or longer.

Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley said he hopes the law will be strengthened and allow animal resource officers more flexibility to make judgment calls based on their own experience and data while preserving due process.

Montgomery County Administrator Joe Tuss defended Kumpf and his staff, saying they did all they could to help Richey. He said there was no evidence that would have allowed animal control officers to designate the dogs as dangerous and remove them from the 35 E. Bruce Ave. house.

Surveillance footage from Richey’s home showed encounters with Nason and his unleashed dogs coming onto her property.

When animal control officers responded to 35 E. Bruce, the homeowners were not there or did not answer the door, and a warning was posted on the house, Kumpf has said. No one at the Bruce house responded to the warnings.

“If there is no response, consequences should be imposed, as there are with traffic violations,” Roach said.

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